Let`s Celebrate National Foot Health Awareness Month while talking about Neuromas.
April is National Foot Health Awareness Month. With that in mind, I will focus this blog on a common podiatric condition, the neuroma. Neuromas are the result of nerve injury or irritation. The fibers that surround nerves thicken in response to the irritation, which causes inflammation and pain. Nerve pain usually can be distinguished by its characteristic shocking, tingling, and/or radiating sensation. If that occurs at the far end of your foot and between the toes, then we have what is known as a Morton’s neuroma.
The verdict is still out on what actually causes Morton’s neuromas. Some claim ischemia, or low oxygen due to poor blood flow, causes the nerve tissue to degenerate and then inflame. Others think it is strictly due to trauma. The most common part of the foot to find these is between the heads of the third and fourth metatarsals (at the ball of the foot and between your third and fourth toes). This is where two nerves cross, which makes it relatively crowded in that specific interspace. This intersection is especially prone to irritation, so if you put a lot of pressure on your foot, then you may develop a neuroma.
Neuromas are often over-diagnosed by providers not specialized in the foot and ankle. True neuromas are relatively rare while pain in that area of the foot is very common (it’s just usually caused by something else like capsulitis). Podiatrists at Advanced Foot Care can decipher between these similar conditions with a careful physical examination. Contrary to capsulitis, the pain from a neuroma will present just distal to the metatarsal heads and won’t hurt when moving the associated joint. These are subtle differences, but they change the diagnosis and therefore course of treatment.