A neuroma, also referred to as a “pinched nerve” or nerve tumour, is a benign growth of nerve tissue. It brings on pain, a burning sensation, tingling, or numbness between the toes and in the ball of the foot.

Some patients describe the pain as similar to having a stone in his or her shoe. The vast majority of people who develop neuromas are women.


Although the exact cause for the condition is unclear, a number of factors can contribute to the formation of a neuroma:

  • Biomechanical deformities, such as a high-arched foot or a flat foot. These foot types bring on instability around the toe joints, leading to the development of the condition.
  • Trauma (injury) can cause damage to the nerve, resulting in inflammation or swelling.
  • Improper footwear that causes the toes to be squeezed together is problematic.  
  • Repeated stress, common to many activities.


The symptoms of a neuroma include the following:

  • Pain in the forefoot and between the toes.
  • Tingling and numbness in the ball of the foot.
  • Swelling between the toes.
  • Pain in the ball of the foot when weight is placed on it.


Treatments generally include wearing corrective shoes or orthotics and/or receiving cortisone injections. In severe cases, surgical removal of the growth may be necessary.