A neuroma is an inflamed nerve. At the foot, the most frequent place for a neuroma is between the third and fourth toes. The main nerve to your foot originates from the spine and travels down the back of the leg to the base of the foot and out to the toes. When the nerve becomes irritated, electrical or burning pain shoots out to the feet when walking. The second, third and fourth toes can get numb. There can be a sensation of walking on a lamp cord or a bulge. Removing the shoe and massaging the ball of the foot can bring relief.
To help decrease the pain, try the following tips:
– Hurry. Every step you take aggravates the guts. Decreasing the time on your own feet will help decrease the inflammation. If you walk for exercise, try swimming or biking instead.
– Avoid activities that aggravate the pain. Squatting, walking or jogging hills, climbing up and down stairs and carrying heavy things will increase the strain through the ball of the foot and irritate the nerve. Taking the strain off the guts will help decrease the irritation, decrease the inflammation and accelerate healing.
– Wear low-heel shoes. Any shoe (cowboy boots or high heeled dress shoes) will place excessive pressure on the ball of the foot. Keep the heel height under 1 inch.
– Wear shoes with a wide toe box. If the feet are cramped together, this places pressure on the nerve, worsening the irritation. Your toes should have sufficient space to”wiggle”.
– Wear shoes that are rigid. Wearing elastic shoes increases the force placed through the ball of the foot. A rigid shoe with a rocker sole will decrease the pressure on the nerve.
– Ice your foot. Placing ice of the ball of the foot for 20 minutes once or twice a day will decrease pain and inflammation.
– Use contrast soaks. Start with 5 minutes of heat, then apply 5 minutes of ice, then switch back to heat and alternate for 20-30 minutes. Contrasting between hot and cold can help decrease the inflammation around the nerve.
– Place a neuroma pad on your shoe. A neuroma pad (similar to a metatarsal pad) can be placed in the shoe, under the ball of the foot. The pad lifts up the bones in the foot to help decrease the pressure on the nerve. The pad should be placed behind the ball of the foot.
– Slip inserts into your shoe. Make sure that the insert you purchase is an orthotic. The device ought to be semi-rigid to help control movement in the foot. These can be purchased at the local running store or sports shop.
– Watch your podiatrist. If the pain persists after taking these steps, make an appointment with your podiatrist.