A neuroma is a benign growth of nerve tissue, also called a “pinched nerve” or nerve tumour. It can cause pain, a burning sensation, tingling, or numbness between the toes and in the ball of the foot. Some people describe the symptoms as like having a stone in the 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:
- A high-arched foot or a flat foot. These foot types are prone to instability around the toe joints, leading to the development of the condition.
- Trauma (injury) which damages the nerve, resulting in inflammation or swelling.
- Improper footwear, causing the toes to be squeezed together.
- 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 bearing weight.
Treatments generally include wearing corrective shoes or orthotics and/or receiving cortisone injections. In severe cases, surgical removal of the growth may be necessary.