Shooting, burning, or electrical type sensation that shoot into the toes, especial the 3rd and 4th toes, are classic symptoms of a Morton’s neuroma. It will start out as a temporary, off-and-on problem that is aggravated after activity or wearing aggressive dress shoes that have a very narrow toe box or elevated heels. If the problem has been there a long time, the toes may separate and look like Spock’s Vulcan greeting. There will be a loss of sensation only in half of the toes where they make contact (web space).
What is Causing This?
Your nervous system consists of two parts – the central nervous system (your brain and spinal cord) and the peripheral nervous system (an extensive network of nerves extending throughout your entire body). Each system is responsible for performing an array of tasks that allow you to, well, do pretty much everything you do. When your nervous system is running smoothly, it is easy to take for granted, but sometimes problems can develop. Such is the case with neuromas.
If you experience strange, painful sensations in the feet, it is certainly possible you have developed a neuroma and need the effective care we provide here at our Indianapolis, IN office. Of course, your first step in getting help is to recognize the symptoms in conjunction with what is happening in your body.
A neuroma will develop in response to irritation, excessive pressure, or injury to one of the peripheral nerves leading to your toes. When this happens, the affected nerve will become enlarged and cause those aforementioned symptoms. More specifically, though, pressure on the nerve can be the result of biomechanical deformities (cavus foot, flatfoot), improper footwear, physical trauma, or repeated stress. Bob the runner, for example, could develop a neuroma from the repeated trauma of his foot striking pavement. Jane the CEO could develop one because her favorite power heels constantly place extra pressure on the balls of her feet.
Neuroma Treatment and Prevention
There are certain treatment options you could try yourself at home for neuromas:
- Always choose shoes featuring low heels, ample room for your toes, and laces or buckles that allow you to adjust the width of your footwear.
- Limit wearing high-heeled and thin soled shoes for special occasions, since these kinds of shoes can make an existing condition worse.
- Wrap an ice pack or ice in a thin towel and apply to the area to dull the pain and improve your comfort.
We always hope to effectively address conditions with the use of conservative care, but sometimes this is not possible. Sometimes, surgical intervention is needed for a neuroma. If we are unable to find the comfort you need via nonsurgical methods, we might need to relieve pressure on the compressed nerve by cutting other tissues or even remove the damaged nerve altogether.
In the event you do need treatment for a neuroma, you should certainly come see us so we can provide the care you need. Ultimately, we would rather know you were able to prevent a condition from developing in the first place. The following preventative measures can help:
- Choose shoes with ample padding in the ball of the foot area.
- If you wear athletic shoes for physical activities, be sure to pick out ones that have a lot of room in the front (so your toes aren’t compressed).
- Limit how much time you spend in shoes that have narrow toe boxes and excessively-high heels (greater than 2 inches). If you do wear those kinds of shoes for work, wear a second, more comfortable pair on your commute to and from the office.
As noted, if you need professional treatment for a neuroma that is taking away your quality and enjoyment of life from your favorite activities, Jeffrie C. Leibovitz, D.P.M. can help. Come to our Indianapolis office and Dr. Leibovitz will diagnose the condition responsible for your nerve pain and issues, and then create an effective treatment plan to resolve it for you.
If you would like more information about neuromas or other nerve conditions, or have any questions about our podiatry practice, simply call (317) 545-0505 and our staff will gladly answer any questions you might have. You can also request an appointment with Dr. Leibovitz online right now!