Forefoot pain is generally a symptom of structural problems from conditions such bunions, hammer toes and neuromas. Have you ever felt like you had a pebble in your shoe under the ball of your foot? It’s most likely a neuroma.
A neuroma which is also referred to as Morton’s neuroma, is a benign cyst that develops in the ball of the foot between the 3rd and 4th toes. The pain can be acute and stop you from being able to step on your foot. The good news is that the symptoms can be treated.
What causes a Neuroma?
You can’t actually see a neuroma even though it’s a lump, but you can feel it. The exact cause of neuromas is unknown, but we know they are aggravated for the following reasons:
- Ill-fitting shoes – high-heeled shoes or shoes that are tight across the front, placing pressure on your toes and the ball of your foot .
- Sports – high-impact sports which put unusual pressure on the ball of the foot such as jogging and tennis.
- Foot structure – if you have bunions, high or low arches or hammer toes, you have a higher risk of developing Morton’s neuroma.
Symptoms of a Neuroma
Neuromas can be painful and stop you in your tracks if the pinch is particularly extreme. Here are some typical symptoms of neuromas.
- Tight shoes will bring on the pinching sensation faster or a shooting pain through the ball of your foot, it can be so painful you can’t step on your foot.
- You get a tingling sensation through the ball of the foot which increases over time.
- It can feel as though you have a pebble in your shoe while you walk.
- You have a burning or numbing sensation in your toes.
- The pain eases off at night.
Self-help – what you can do at home
If your neuroma is painful, here’s how to relieve the discomfort at home:
- Change your footwear – leave the high heels in the cupboard for a while along with your tight shoes. If you must wear them, only wear them for short periods of time.
- Wear wide-fitting shoes – wear shoes which have plenty of room around the toes so that they’re not squeezed together.
- Buy sports shoes or socks with padding in the soles to cushion your feet when you run or play sports.
- Stretch out the feet and toes gently upwards to allow space between the 3rd and 4th toe. This will help to alleviate pressure temporarily.
- Use ice packs on the ball of the feet for 5-10 mins to alleviate burning sensations.
- Rest – give your feet a break and elevate them. Neuromas are aggravated by pressure on the ball of your foot, so staying off your feet will alleviate the pain.
How we help neuromas at our podiatry clinic (Adelaide, Mount Barker and Stirling)
Neuromas will not disappear on their own. They come and go and this can largely depend on the shoes you wear. At Sanders Podiatry in Adelaide, Stirling and Mt Barker, we have a great deal of experience with neuromas. Our experienced podiatrists will assess the neuroma placement and development in your foot and recommend a treatment plan to alleviate the symptoms.
Treatments at the clinic include the following:
We may suggest fitting an orthotic into your shoe to alleviate the pressure on the ball of your foot. Orthoses address biomechanical misalignment and problems associated with poor function of the foot. First, we do a biomechanical assessment to determine how the pressure on your feet affects their function. Then we’ll determine what sort of orthoses is best suited to alleviate the symptoms of the neuroma.
We’ll use a variety of physical therapy techniques including massage and work on your feet to release tightness and reduce inflammation. We may use Ultrasound therapy as part of the treatment if needed. We’ll teach you how to massage and stretch your feet at home to help alleviate acute pain when it occurs.
We only suggest medication for temporary pain relief while we find the root cause. There are several over the counter medications that are suitable.
Neuromas can be treated, see our podiatrists for professional advice
There is no need to suffer quietly at home with neuromas. You can easily forget about them if they’re not painful, but they can flare up at inconvenient times. Our podiatrists will treat the neuroma, relieve the symptoms and advise you on preventing further recurrences. Our experienced and gentle podiatrists work from three different podiatry clinics in Adelaide and the Adelaide Hills.