Sharp shooting or burning pain in the ball of your foot often occurs due to a neuroma. Neuromas are non-cancerous tumors that occur due to a thickening of the nerve tissue. At Foot & Ankle Associates of Southern NH, Drew Taft, DPM, works with residents of Derry, New Hampshire, to diagnose and treat neuromas. To schedule an appointment, call the office to speak with a member of the administrative staff today.
A neuroma is a painful condition that usually affects the area at the front of the foot just beneath your third and fourth toes. Neuromas make it feel like there’s a pebble or other small object in your shoe.
Anyone can experience a neuroma, but they’re especially common in people who wear tight or ill-fitting footwear, such as high heels or rock climbing shoes. Fortunately, with early intervention and treatment, it’s possible to prevent the neuroma from growing or getting worse.
Neuromas don’t present any outward symptoms like bruising, bumps, or lumps. However, as the nerve tumor grows in size, you might experience a burning pain in the ball of your foot that radiates to your toes or numbness or tingling.
When combined, these symptoms can make it difficult to walk, exercise, or perform other routine activities.
Neuromas affect people of all backgrounds, but several factors may increase your risk, including wearing tight or uncomfortable shoes, participating in high-impact athletic activities like running, jogging, or rock climbing, and foot abnormalities.
For example, if you have bunions, hammertoes, or flat feet, you’re also more likely to experience a neuroma.
To diagnose neuromas, Dr. Taft asks about your symptoms and lifestyle, including if you play sports, what type of shoes you wear, and the severity of your pain.
Afterward, he reviews your medical history and conducts a physical exam, gently pressing on the ball of your foot to feel for a tender spot or mass.
Next, Dr. Taft orders diagnostic imaging, including digital X-rays and an ultrasound. X-rays can rule out other problems like stress fractures or dislocated joints, while ultrasound can reveal soft-tissue abnormalities like a neuroma.
Treatment for neuromas depends on the severity of your symptoms and their effects on your daily life. Usually, Dr. Taft recommends conservative treatments like custom orthotics, prescription insoles, or rest, ice, compression, and elevation (the RICE protocol).
If your pain persists or gets worse, a more invasive treatment option may be necessary. Dr. Taft might recommend corticosteroid injections, decompression surgery, or a minimally invasive procedure to remove the affected nerve.
To further explore treatment for neuromas, schedule an appointment at Foot & Ankle Associates of Southern NH. Call the office to speak with a member of the administrative staff today.