What Is Neuroma?
A neuroma is an enlargement or thickening of nerve tissue. Neuromas can be found throughout the body in various places. In the foot the most common neuroma is the Morton's neuroma found in the third webspace or between the third and fourth toe usually at the level of the third and fourth metatarsal. The enlargement of the nerve is the direct result of compressive forces that damages the nerve and cause significant pain especially upon ambulation.
Symptoms: Pain associated with a neuroma will progress over time. Usually the patient will experience pain associated with a nerve trauma such as tingling, burning, or numbness. Patients have a feeling that they are walking on rocks or that there is something in their shoe. At first relief of the symptoms may come from simply removing shoes that crowd the foot or massaging the foot. As the condition progresses and more trauma happens to the nerve the symptoms may persist for days to weeks with no relief.
Diagnosis: This is usually made by the foot and ankle surgeon following a complete history of symptoms and physical exam. The pain experienced associated with a neuroma can be recreated by manipulating the foot which will compress the nerve causing symptomatic pain. However, if a recreation of the pain isn't achieved and a neuroma is still suspected the foot and ankle surgeon can order imaging studies such as an MRI to view the enlarged nerve.