Common Foot and Ankle Problems & Treatments
Neuromas

General Information

A neuroma, sometimes referred to as a “pinched nerve,” is thickened nerve tissue that is benign in nature. This most often occurs between the third and fourth toes, which is termed a Morton’s neuroma. A neuroma may develop secondary to injury, improper or ill-fitting shoes, high heels, repetitive stress, or foot deformities (hammertoes, bunions, flat feet, high arches, etc.).

What are the symptoms?

  • Pain to the toes or ball of the foot.
  • Cramping, tingling, or numbness to the toes or the ball of the foot.
  • A feeling as if a sock were bunched up beneath the toes.
  • Swelling or clicking sensation to the ball of the foot.

How are neuromas diagnosed?

Your podiatrist, or foot and ankle specialist, will take a careful history and perform a clinical exam, where she will attempt to reproduce your symptoms. Ancillary imaging studies may be performed.

What causes pinched nerves (neuroma)?

Pinching of the nerves from tight shoes or repetitive stress can cause irritation and damage to the nerves that run towards the toes.

In some cases the nerves can be damaged by trauma.

How are neuromas diagnosed?

Your podiatrist, or foot and ankle specialist, will take a careful history and perform a clinical exam, where she will attempt to reproduce your symptoms. Ancillary imaging studies may be performed.

Treatment

How can pinched nerves be treated?

Early treatment may include one or more of the following

  • Roomier or specially constructed shoes.
  • Orthotics (inserts) for the shoes.
  • Anti-inflammatory medicines.
  • Cortisone injections.
  • Alcohol sclerosing injections.

If these methods fail, surgery may be suggested. This involves the removal of the damaged nerve tissue.

Foot & Ankle Specialists of the Mid-Atlantic have, however, been using dehydrated alcohol injected into the nerve (with ultrasonic guidance when indicated) to destroy the nerve chemically, without surgery. This has been a successful way to treat damaged nerves without the debilitating effect of surgery. Patients walk in and walk out without any change to their routine.