A neuroma is one of the many causes of burning pain in the foot and is usually a well localized to the areas between the three middle toes. It is a localized swelling of the nerve as a result of compression or trauma, most commonly at the ball of the foot. They are sometimes referred to as “nerve tumors” because the nerve is getting pinched and thus swells. If you perform activities that result in repetitive micro-trauma to the ball of the foot you are likely more to develop a neuroma.
Symptoms of a neuroma may include the following:
• A feeling of a clicking or snapping present
• Sharp pain in the toes when rolling over the ball of the foot
• Intermittent burning pain in the foot
• Increased pain when wearing shoes that are enclosed or tight fitting in the toe area
• Numbness in one or two toes
Other diagnoses are easily confused with neuromas, so it is important to sort out other problems that may be mimicking a neuroma. Usually x-rays are taken to rule out stress fractures or arthritis.
A neuroma can be progressive – and get bigger and more painful as time progresses. Treatment is tailored toward the location and the progression of the problem. These may include:
• Steroid injections
• Orthotic therapy
• Chemical destruction of the nerve (if there is a long-standing nerve damage)
• Surgery (if this is a long-standing condition)