Before you can choose the right neuroma treatment, it’s important to understand the nature of this condition. When you have a neuroma, that means there is enlargement in one of the nerves traveling between your metatarsal foot bones. (When the enlarged nerve runs between the third and fourth metatarsal bone—the most common spot for neuromas—we call it a Morton’s neuroma.) With any neuroma, you’re likely to experience intrusive symptoms including foot and toe numbness, as well as a sharp or stabbing pain in the ball of your foot. Quickly, you’ll be seeking relief with neuroma treatment.
Foot Neuromas: Why do They form?
A Morton’s neuroma develops when the bones in your foot put pressure on the underlying nerve. That pressure causes swelling and inflammation in the nerve, inevitably leading to painful symptoms.
But why would your toes be putting pressure on your nerves? There could be lots of causes, but one common source is faulty biomechanics in your foot. Plus, shoe choice often plays in a role so anyone—but most often women—who wear shoes that are high-heeled, pointy-toed, narrow or generally ill-fitting, are at an increased risk for toe compression, and for foot neuromas.
What are the Symptoms of Morton’s Neuroma?
When you have a neuroma, you’re likely to notice:
• Pain when you wear narrow shoes or when you slip on those high-heels
• Sharp, stabbing pain in the ball of the foot
• Dull ball of foot pain, or numbness in the are
• Toe numbness
Now, at first, symptoms of a neuroma may be mild. However, this condition is progressive. And that means that mild, intermittent discomfort can become disruptive, chronic pain, unless you seek timely Morton’s neuroma treatment.
Diagnosing and Finding Neuroma Treatment in Massapequa, NY
When you come in to our Massapequa, Long Island podiatry practice, our trained doctors can diagnose a Morton’s neuroma after conducting a clinical examination and taking your detailed medical history to determine the exact nature of your symptoms. While you’re in the office, we may order additional tests, such as an ultrasound, x-ray, or MRI, to rule out other diagnoses.
Non-Surgical Morton’s Neuroma Treatment
For many patients, neuroma relief can be achieved with conservative treatment methods. And, when you come into the office quickly, we can often resolve your pain with entirely non-invasive measures!
Here are some of the most effective ways we relieve neuroma without surgery, highlighted from the least to the most invasive options available.
Free Neuroma Treatment: Change Your Shoes
It’s not too often that you can choose a foot pain treatment that costs nothing, but one free option is actually incredibly effective for neuromas: just change your shoes. Instead of all those troublesome styles, look for wider pairs of shoes to reduce pressure on your foot bones, and minimize irritation to your inflamed nerve.
Try Medical Grade Inserts (MGIs)
Available for immediate purchase at your in-office visit, these insoles can provide additional support and pain relief as soon as you slip them into your shoes. While custom orthotics (see below) offer more permanent solutions to neuroma pain, they take time to craft, since they are constructed from a cast of your foot and take around three weeks to be ready for you. (More if you’re waiting for insurance approval.) As such, MGIs are a more affordable, immediate, and effective non-surgical neuroma treatment that can help your feet feel better the moment you step out of the office.
Or, Get Fitted for Custom Orthotics
Still experiencing discomfort after changing up your foot gear and trying MGIs? Not to worry: that likely means faulty biomechanics—not shoe choice—are responsible for pressure on your nerve. As a result, in order to relieve your pain, we’ll have to correct those biomechanics by fitting you for custom orthotics. Crafted to compensate for your unique weaknesses, these medical grade shoe inserts evenly distribute pressure across your entire foot. As such, they prevent excess pressure from impacting your nerve, providing permanent protection against neuromas.
Fight Inflammation with Oral Medication
Since much of the pain associated with a neuroma is the result of inflammation, taking oral anti-inflammatories can speed up your healing, while providing timely relief. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, you may find relief from over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen, or from prescription strength anti-inflammatories.
Cortisone Injections as Neuroma Treatment
Many patients prefer the faster relief of a cortisone injection for a Morton’s neuroma. When our podiatrists in Nassau County treat you with an injection, we directly target the inflamed nerve for fast relief. In contrast to oral medications, with slower onset and diffuse results, many patients are able to permanently resolve neuroma pain with just one cortisone injection.
There’s one caveat to remember: the results of cortisone injections aren’t permanent. In fact, they are likely to dissipate after about two weeks. So, how could one injection resolve your neuroma pain? While the cortisone actively fights inflammation, your nerve has time to heal. Therefore, at that two week mark, many people’s inflammation is resolved, so their pain doesn’t return when the cortisone stops working. But if that pain does come back after an injection for neuroma pain? That’s when it’s time to seek a more permanent treatment option.
Morton’s Neuroma Surgery in Long Island
As we just mentioned, most patients can relieve their Morton’s neuroma pain with conservative treatment options. Unfortunately, for about one-third of patients, the pain persists after exhausting less-invasive neuroma treatment options. At that point, we’d suggest scheduling a surgical consultation with Dr. Mark Gasparini or Dr. Novneet Chhabra, our podiatrists in Massapequa.
If you proceed with surgery, the operation will involve uncovering and removing the part of your nerve that’s inflamed and enlarged. Afterward, your pain will resolve and you’ll be back to your everyday routine, after a two to three week recovery period during which you’ll only be allowed to bear weight when you’re wearing a surgical boot.
Now, while surgery provides lasting neuroma relief, there are potential side effects to consider. Because we remove a portion of your nerve during surgery, it’s not uncommon to experience minor numbness afterward. If that’s a concern to you, we can discuss ways to minimize the after effects of surgery, or explore a different neuroma treatment option.
Who Should I see for Morton’s Neuroma Treatment?
The best doctor to diagnose and treat a neuroma in your foot is a doctor who treats nothing but feet, toes and ankles…in other words, if you’re experiencing neuroma symptoms, you need to see our podiatrists in Nassau County! Ready to find lasting relief from the pain of a neuroma? Reach out to our office today to begin your recovery journey!