What is a Neuroma?
A non-cancerous growth of nerve tissue is called a neuroma. It can occur in various parts of your body and it is a result of compression and irritation of the nerve. This compression generates swelling of the nerve, which eventually leads to permanent nerve damage.
Effects of Neuroma
Treatment of neuroma is effective in preventing its growth, decreasing discomfort in the area, increasing possibility of wearing certain shoes and performing specific activities.
Candidates for Neuroma
Ideal candidates for this procedure are those who commonly have neuromas in the heel area, resulting in heel pain. Neuromas rarely occur in the spaces between the big toe and second toe, and between the fourth and fifth toes.
The foot and ankle surgeon will get a complete history of your symptoms and inspect your foot to arrive at a diagnosis. The doctor will also try to reproduce your symptoms by maneuvering your foot during the physical examination. Other tests may also be done.
The Neuroma Procedure
Neuroma may be treated by cortisone injections, orthotics, chemical destruction of the nerve, or surgery. Cortisone injections are initially used to treat neuroma. It is beneficial when injected around the nerve because it minimizes the swelling of the nerve and also relieves pressure on it. Up to three cortisone injections can be taken over a twelve-month period. Although cortisone may offer relief for many months, it is not a cure for the condition. The abnormal movements of the metatarsal bones remain to exacerbate the condition over a period of time.
Recovery period depends on the procedure(s) done. Whether or not you have had surgical or non-surgical treatment, your foot and ankle surgeon will propose long-term measures to help sustain your symptoms from recurring, these may include the use of proper footwear and modification of activities that cause repetitive pressure on the foot.
What causes a neuroma?
Anything that initiates compression or irritation of the nerve can start the development of a neuroma. One of the most common reasons is wearing shoes that have a tapered toe box, or high-heeled shoes that brings the toes to be forced into the toe box.
Individuals with specific foot deformities, such as bunions, hammertoes, flat feet, or more flexible feet, are at higher risk for getting a neuroma. Further probable causes are activities that involve recurring irritation to the ball of the foot, such as running or racquet sports. An injury or other kind of trauma to the area may also result in a neuroma.
When is surgery needed?
Patients who have not obtained sufficient relief from other remedies should consider surgery. There are generally two surgical methods to treating a neuroma, the involved nerve is either removed or released. Consult with a foot and ankle surgeon to decide which treatment is best for your condition.
What are the treatments available for neuroma?
In coming up with a treatment plan, your foot and ankle surgeon will first verify how long you have had the neuroma and assess its stage of development. Treatment approaches differ according to the seriousness of the problem. For mild to moderate cases of neuroma, treatment alternatives include padding techniques, icing, orthotic devices, modifications in activities, changes in shoe wear, medications, and injection therapy.