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.