Do you experience the sensation of a pinched nerve — burning, tingling pain — near your third and fourth toes while walking? It’s possible you’ve developed a neuroma, a benign nerve tissue growth that causes pain while walking.

Neuromas are best treated by a podiatrist, who can provide necessary medical intervention. For neuroma diagnosis and treatment, contact the doctors at Starrett Podiatry today. They have six clinics throughout New York for your convenience: East Harlem and West Harlem in New York City; Brooklyn, New York; and Mott Haven and Belmont in Bronx, New York.

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What is a neuroma?

A neuroma is a benign growth that most commonly occurs between your third and fourth toes.

It feels similar to a pinched nerve in that area and causes the most pain when you’re walking. Neuromas aren’t dangerous but can make it hard to get around and cause severe discomfort when left untreated.

What causes neuromas?

The causes of neuromas are unknown, but several factors can increase your risk of developing a neuroma:

  • Repeated stress due to repetitive work
  • Trauma to the nerve and subsequent inflammation
  • Ill-fitting footwear including high heels
  • Flat foot, high arches, and other deformities

What are the signs and symptoms of neuromas?

The only visible sign of a neuroma is swelling between your third and fourth toes. Symptoms — which you can feel but not see — include pain toward the front of your foot, near the third and fourth toes, numbness or tingling in the ball of your foot in the same area, and pain that worsens when your foot is bearing weight.

Is there anything I can do myself to relieve the pain?

Wear flat or low-heeled shoes with plenty of room for your toes. Choose shoes with appropriate support to ensure your foot is positioned well. Stop walking and massage the area of pain when it occurs, and apply ice three times a day.

These measures can help manage the pain but won’t address the underlying neuroma or prevent future problems. Schedule an appointment if you believe you have a neuroma. When left untreated, neuromas can worsen.

How are neuromas treated?

Your treatment options will depend on the stage of development of your neuroma and may include:

  • Appropriate diagnosis using examination, medical history review, and X-rays if necessary
  • Alleviation of pressure on the neuroma through the use of padding the ball of the foot and taping
  • Custom orthotics designed to align the foot properly and correct functional problems
  • Oral anti-inflammatory medications or cortisone injections to reduce inflammation and swelling
  • Surgical removal of the neuroma when other options fail to alleviate pain and discomfort