A neuroma is a painful and thickened nerve often occurring as a result of scar tissue forming around the nerve.
This is generally due to compression and repeated irritation of the nerve, often linked with poor biomechanics or activity.
Neuroma commonly develops between the 3rd and 4th metatarsals in the feet as shown in the image to the right.
Symptoms of neuroma often include tingling, burning pain, numbness or sharp pain that shoots into the toes. In some cases people feel as though they are walking on a pebble. An inflamed bursa often accompanies a thickened nerve and in some cases can be more symptomatic than the nerve itself
Conservative treatments generally include wearing footwear with appropriate width so as to not compress the foot and reduce compression on the thickened nerve. Innersole modifications and orthotics can be used to correct any causative foot posture issued and redistribute pressure away from the area of the neuroma. Anti-inflammatories may also assist in short term pain relief.
Mobilisation of the feet may provide some additional relief of neuroma pain by breaking apart any adhesions between the metatarsals
Failure of conservative treatments may indicate the need for surgical intervention. Surgery may involve removal of the neuroma, or the soft tissue surrounding the neuroma may be cut to release the nerve.