Nerve Pain in your Foot – Do you have a Neuroma?
Have you experienced shooting, burning pains in your forefoot that run into your toes? We know the feeling too well, and it certainly makes walking around much more uncomfortable! You may have a neuroma (also known as a Morton’s neuroma), and luckily there’s plenty your podiatrist can do to help!
What is a Morton’s Neuroma?
A Neuroma refers to the irritation and inflammation of a nerve in the forefoot. We have nerves running between each of our metatarsal bones with fluid surrounding them as protection. An increase in load or compression in these areas can result in an inflammatory response, leading to elevated pressure on your forefoot nerves.
Neuroma’s may result from a variety of reasons, mostly being related to:
- Wearing high heels or narrow, ill-fitting shoes
- Participating in high-impact sports that cause repetitive trauma
- Foot deformities such as flat feet, bunions, high arches and hammer toes
An ultrasound of the forefoot is generally required for an accurate diagnosis of a neuroma, although your podiatrist may conduct specific clinical tests to assess for signs of the condition.
Compressible vs Incompressible Neuroma
When referring for an ultrasound, the clinician will assess for either a compressible, partially compressible or incompressible neuroma.
- Compressible bursa: Minimal thickening of the nerve, mostly inflammation and swelling of the surrounding fluid (bursitis)
- Incompressible: Significant thickening of the nerve tissue.
- Partially compressible: Mild thickening of the nerve with associated bursitis.
Understanding the nature of your neuroma is important in order to create an individualised treatment plan to manage your condition.
What are the symptoms of a Morton’s Neuroma?
- Tingling, burning, or numbness
- Feeling like something is inside the ball of the foot
- Feeling like there’s something in your shoe.
What can we do about Morton’s Neuroma’s
Given the nature of neuroma’s, they can often lead to debilitating pain if not managed appropriately. Despite being an aggravating condition, there is plenty your podiatrist can do about it! No matter which treatment outcome you take, the main priority is reducing load from the affected area to allow a period of decreased inflammation and increased recovery. The way in which this is done will depend on each individual presentation and foot type.Common treatment options include:
- RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation)
- Change shoes so they are comfortable, wide and appropriately fitting
- Address biomechanics and deformities – through the use of orthotics and exercise therapy
- Activity modification
- Foot mobilisation therapy
- Injection therapy
If you think you may be suffering from a Morton’s Neuroma, be sure to book an appointment with your Movement Centre podiatrist today to have your symptoms assessed and properly diagnosed. We are experts at managing foot pain of all forms, and would love to help get you back on your feet in one piece!