© SKI Publishing
Tips for Treating Neuromas
By Christine Dobrowolski,
A neuroma is an inflamed
nerve. In the foot, the most common place for a neuroma is between
the third and fourth toes. The main nerve to your
foot originates from the spine and travels down the back of the leg to
the bottom of the foot and out to the toes. When the nerve becomes irritated,
electrical or burning pain shoots out to the toes when walking. The second,
third and fourth toes can become numb. There can be a sensation of walking
on a lamp cord or a lump. Removing the shoe and massaging the ball of
the foot can bring relief.
To help decrease
the pain, try the following tips:
- Rest. Every step you take aggravates the nerve. Decreasing the
time on your feet will help decrease the inflammation. If you walk
for exercise, try biking or swimming instead.
activities that aggravate the pain. Squatting,
walking or running hills, climbing up and down stairs and carrying heavy items
will increase the stress through the ball of the foot and irritate
the nerve. Taking the stress off the nerve will help decrease the
irritation, decrease the inflammation and accelerate healing.
- Wear low-heel
shoe (cowboy boots or high heeled dress shoes) will place excessive pressure
on the ball of the foot. Keep
the heel height below 1 inch.
- Wear shoes
with a wide toe box. If
are cramped together, this places pressure on
the nerve, worsening
the irritation. Your toes
should have enough room to "wiggle".
rigid shoes. Wearing
flexible shoes increases the force placed through the ball of the
foot. A rigid shoe with a rocker sole will
decrease the pressure on the nerve.
- Ice your
foot. Placing ice
of the ball of the foot for 20 minutes once or twice a day will decrease
pain and inflammation.
- Use contrast
soaks. Start with 5 minutes of heat, then apply 5 minutes of ice,
then switch back to heat again and alternate for 20-30 minutes.
Contrasting between hot and cold will help decrease the inflammation
around the nerve.
a neuroma pad in your shoe. A neuroma pad (similar
to a metatarsal pad) can be placed in the shoe, under the ball of
the foot. The pad
lifts up the bones in the foot to help decrease the pressure on the
nerve. The pad should be placed behind the ball of the foot.
inserts into your shoe. Make sure
the insert you buy is an orthotic. The device should be semi-rigid to help control
the foot. These can be bought at your local running store or sports
- See your
podiatrist. If the pain persists after taking these steps,
make an appointment with your podiatrist.
is a podiatrist, runner, and author of "Those Aching Feet:
Your Guide To Diagnosis and Treatment of Common Foot Problems," available
via her publisher, SKI Publishing, and at Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com.
by Dr. Christine Dobrowolski, DPM