A neuroma is a growth that can develop in certain parts of the body. Morton’s neuroma is a neuroma that develops in the foot. When one or more of the nerves running from the heels and feet to the toes thickens, Morton’s neuroma can occur.
In the initial stages of neuroma, the symptoms can only be felt during certain activities or when wearing certain types of shoes. The symptoms include feeling of burning, stinging, or numbness of the feet or toes. If left untreated, it can develop into a chronic painful condition.
The most basic way to manage neuroma is by resting the feet. Take a break and reduce high impact activities such as dancing, jogging, running, and aerobic exercises.
Gently massaging the area with a topical pain reliever can also provide comfort. Regular ice massage can also help reduce the pain. Apply ice to the ball of the foot, not directly to the toes. It is important not to freeze the area but just to apply the ice for 5 to 10 minutes at a time, every two to four hours.
Stretching exercises may also assist in relieving the pressure on the feet. The stretches should be held for at least 10 seconds to get the most benefit. These stretches include the plantar fascia stretch, wall stretch, calf stretch, bottle roll, and tower stretch. In stretching the plantar fascia, grasp the heel in one hand while the other hand is on the toes. Gently pull the forefoot and toes to create a slight pull along the bottom of the foot. The wall stretch is done by facing the wall with the feet apart. Place both hands on the wall while one foot steps back. Bend the knees and lean into the wall while keeping the heels on the floor. Using a bottle full of ice, roll it back and forth along the bottom of the foot. This is called the bottle roll. The towel stretch involves sitting on the floor with legs stretched. Place the ball of the foot in the middle of a towel while grasping both ends to pull your forefoot back.
Another simple remedy is by using a gel pad to cushion the ball of the foot. Wearing wider shoes with a padded insole can help. Also, changing footwear and choosing shoes with a broad toe box will lessen compression on the neuroma. Women should refrain from wearing high heeled shoes and opt for flat shoes instead.
Taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen and aspirin can relieve pain and decrease swelling.
If these home treatments for neuroma fail and the pain is severe or persistent, see a doctor for treatment. Your podiatrist may recommend corticosteroid injections, alcohol injections, or surgery as a last resort.