What Is A Neuroma?

Compression and irritation of a nerve, resulting in the thickening of nerve tissue is known as a neuroma. This compression causes swelling and may lead to permanent damage if left untreated. Morton’s neuroma, the most common foot neuroma treated by Ryan Foot and Ankle Clinic, develops at the base of the third and fourth toes. This is also known as an intermetatarsal neuroma due to its location in the ball of the foot between the metatarsal bones. Neuromas may also develop in other areas of the foot.

If you have a sensation like there is a pebble under the ball of your foot, numbness or tingling in your toes, or a burning sensation in the ball of your foot call Ryan Foot and Ankle Clinics to schedule an appointment.

In early stages, Morton’s neuroma symptoms begin slowly. You may only experience discomfort on occasional after certain activities or wearing certain shoes. The symptoms may reside when the affected area is massaged. As the neuroma enlarges, the level and duration of the pain increases.


Compression and irritation of the nerve leads to the development of neuromas. Wearing poorly fitting shoes that cramp your toes is a common culprit. High impact sports that involve the ball of the foot like running and racquet sports or sports that require tight fitting shoes like rock climbing and skiing can also cause neuromas to occur. High arches, bunions, hammertoes, and flat feet are foot conditions that put you at a higher risk for neuromas.

How Are Neuromas Treated?

Your podiatric foot and ankle surgeon will examine your foot to confirm the presence of neuroma. Early detection may eliminate the need for surgery and the neuroma may respond to less invasive treatment. Treatment plans will be based on the severity and symptoms you are experiencing.

Non-surgical treatment options include:

  • Custom orthotics or shoe inserts to reduce compression and pressure on the affected nerve.
  • Padding to support the metatarsal, lessen pressure on the nerve, and decrease compression on the nerve when walking.
  • Icing the affected area to reduce swelling (20 minutes on, 40 minutes off. Place a cloth or towel between the ice pack and your skin).
  • Anti–inflammatory medications to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Avoiding activities that aggravate the neuroma.
  • Avoid high heels and narrow–toed shoes shoes.
  • Injection therapy may be recommended if the neuroma does not show improvement after initial treatment.

What To Expect If Surgery Is Recommended?

The neuroma may need to be surgically removed or released if there is not relief using other treatments. Your Ryan Foot and Ankle surgeon will recommend the best approach based on your condition. Recovery periods will vary, based on the surgical procedure or procedures.

Your podiatrist will also make recommendations regarding your footwear and changes to activities to help keep your symptoms from returning.

If you are experiencing symptoms from a neuroma, give us a call at one of our 5 local podiatry offices in Charlotte, Concord and Harrisburg today for more information or to schedule an appointment.