Neuromas are benign growths of nerve tissue, or nerve tumors, that form when the nerves are irritated by surrounding tissue rubbing against them. Improper footwear that creates pressure on the foot, as well as foot structure abnormalities and injury to the nerves can cause or worsen neuromas. Symptoms of a neuroma include intense pain, swelling, tingling, numbness, and/or a burning sensation in the toes and forefoot area. The pain usually intensifies when walking.
Neuromas most frequently develop between the third and fourth toes. Morton’s neuroma is a condition where the tissue surrounding the nerves thickens due to constant irritation or pressure, such as from wearing high-heeled or constricting shoes.
Treatment for a neuroma may include wearing properly fitting shoes with a roomy toe box, as well as cushioned shoe inserts or pads that alleviate pressure. The foot can be rested, elevated, and iced to relieve discomfort, swelling, and irritation. High heels or narrow-toed shoes that put pressure on the forefoot should be avoided. Since neuromas can worsen, consult a doctor for proper treatment, which may involve medications, pads, ointments, injections and even surgery in more severe cases to remove the neuroma.