Rogers Foot & Ankle Institute

Neuroma Treatment: Non-Surgical Pain Relief

Apr 27, 2023
Neuroma Treatment: Non-Surgical Pain Relief
Are you dealing with chronic nerve pain in your foot or toe? You may have a neuroma. Neuromas are benign tumors that develop along the nerves in your foot, often between your toes, and can cause severe pain and discomfort.

Are you dealing with chronic nerve pain in your foot or toe? You may have a neuroma. Neuromas are benign tumors that develop along the nerves in your foot, often between your toes, and can cause severe pain and discomfort. Fortunately, there are non-surgical neuroma treatment options available to help relieve the pain.

In this blog post, we’ll break down the different kinds of non-surgical neuroma treatment options and explain the benefits of each. 

What Is A Neuroma?

A neuroma is a benign growth of nerve tissue that typically occurs in the hands or feet and can cause pain, numbness, and tingling. It has been said that overuse of the muscles can increase the risk of developing a neuroma; however, it is important to note that there is currently no definite cause known.

Some argue that wearing ill-fitting shoes, trauma or injury caused by surgery, or repeated micro-traumas due to activities such as running, typing, or playing a musical instrument may also be factors. Evidence of this includes studies showing an increased prevalence in athletes, musicians, and other occupations with repetitive motions; however, other research has failed to confirm any one particular cause for the development of neuromas.

The diagnosis of a neuroma often utilizes imaging techniques such as MRI or X-ray scans, which reveal the abnormality. No matter what the cause may be, understanding the condition is key to finding effective treatment options. There are numerous non-surgical relief options available for those who have this condition, and looking into them can aid in diagnosing it and provide comfort to those who are suffering from it.

Common Symptoms Of Neuroma

Symptoms of neuroma vary depending on the individual and can be difficult to diagnose. Common symptoms include a burning sensation, numbness, tingling, or prickling in the toes, shooting or radiating pain in the ball of the foot, a feeling like there is a pebble or marble stuck inside your shoe, numbness between the toes, and difficulty wearing comfortable shoes. The diagnosis of a neuroma often requires additional imaging, such as an X-ray or MRI scan.

At times, pain associated with neuromas can feel worse under pressure, such as when walking. However, some individuals do not feel any discomfort at all. For many, the discomfort occurs only during certain activities that put pressure on the metatarsal region. Additionally, some may present with frequent throbbing or pinching sensations in addition to sharp pain and difficulty moving their feet.

Rarely utilized diagnostic techniques such as ultrasound and CT scanning are beginning to gain traction in diagnosing and treating neuromas. Still, no one method is perfect for definitively distinguishing between neuromas and other sources of foot pain.

The discomfort resulting from a neuroma can be debilitating and have effects on daily life. However, with knowledge of common symptoms and awareness of treatments, these symptoms can largely be managed without surgical intervention.

Pressure In The Heel

A neuroma can have a variety of causes, but one of its most common symptoms is pressure in the heel. One is overloading the plantar fascia, or the connective tissue that supports the arch of the foot, from activities such as running and jumping. This added pressure can then cause pressure in the heel as well as aching and tingling downstream from the neuroma. Additionally, wearing ill-fitting shoes with high heels, pointy toes, and/or a lack of cushioning can lead to pressure on the neuroma, which in turn causes discomfort and pain in the heel area.

Though some treatments, such as physical therapy, are effective at providing symptom relief, it’s important to address any underlying structural components contributing to the neuroma and its associated symptoms. Orthotics may be particularly beneficial, as they help redistribute pressure on all points of the foot, reducing excess pressure in the heel area. Additional lifestyle modifications that may provide symptomatic relief include avoiding activities that overload the plantar fascia, such as running or jumping; exercising regularly to strengthen muscles; engaging in yoga or Pilates; and wearing comfortable shoes and providing adequate support. 

Pain In Movement

Pain in movement is a symptom associated with neuroma, which can be debilitating for individuals in severe cases. Those suffering experience a stabbing, sharp, or burning pain when walking, running, or even just standing up. Once the activity has stopped, the pain will subside; however, it is likely to instantly return when the activity resumes.

This may make it difficult for those with neuromas to perform everyday activities without experiencing discomfort. Some may opt to find smart ways to work around the issue to reduce symptomatic pain, such as by avoiding certain styles of shoes that tend to cause irritation and opting for low-impact exercises such as swimming.

The best thing somebody suffering from a neuroma can do is engage with healthcare professionals to discuss the pros and cons of their various treatment options. While some people experience relief from temporary sources of therapy such as injections, others may require more ongoing treatment solutions depending on their situation.

Non-Surgical Treatment Options For Neuroma

Non-surgical treatment options for neuromas are varied and can be used in many different combinations depending on the patient’s needs. For instance, temporary relief from the pain associated with movement can be obtained through anti-inflammatory medications, orthotics, or corticosteroid injections to support proper nerve function. Additionally, for some people, therapies such as massage may help reduce pressure on the affected area and alleviate pain.

On the other hand, many patients opt to treat their neuromas with natural therapies such as acupuncture or acupressure. These treatments target specific points on the body to stimulate healing and increase circulation to restore balance and comfort in the surrounding muscles, nerves, and soft tissue. While these therapies are gentler than traditional medical solutions, they may take longer to provide tangible pain relief results.

Regardless of which approach is taken, seeking individualized care rather than a generalized, one-size-fits-all solution is key to managing chronic pain related to neuromas in a responsible manner. In all cases of neuroma treatment, it is important to exercise caution when pursuing non-surgical solutions because trying too many things at once can result in further aggravation of the condition.

Physical Therapy And Exercise

Physical therapy and exercise are potential non-surgical treatment options for people suffering from neuroma pain. While the primary benefit of physical therapy is that it takes the pressure off of the nerves in the area, there is also some evidence pointing to its effectiveness in reducing inflammation around the injured nerve. It is crucial to remember that only licensed professionals with experience treating neuromas should administer physical therapy because they can offer specific treatments catered to each patient’s needs.

When deciding if a course of physical therapy is right for them, patients should consider both the benefits and risks associated with this type of treatment. According to medical research, the benefits of physical therapy can include improved range of motion, flexibility, posture, coordination, balance, and strength. Additionally, physical therapists have been known to use various modalities to reduce inflammation and encourage healing. Examples include electric stimulation, ultrasound, and massage.

On the other hand, there are some considerations worth noting before beginning a course of physical therapy for neuromas. Therapists may occasionally prescribe exercises that require certain levels of strength or endurance that not all clients will be able to perform safely or effectively due to underlying medical issues or their overall health status. Additionally, physical therapists may need multiple visits before patients begin to feel relief since exercise takes time and consistency to yield results.

Before beginning a course of physical therapy, people must consult with a doctor to discuss their available treatment options and decide if this type of treatment is right for them. 

Medications And Tablets

There are a variety of drugs that may be prescribed, such as analgesics or anti-inflammatory drugs, and their effectiveness depends on the severity of the symptoms and the underlying condition.

It’s important to note that medication should typically be used in combination with other forms of treatment, like physical therapy and exercise. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons states that “it may take several forms of treatment to control the pain.” Further, it is also important to manage any side effects associated with certain types of medications.

While medications can provide temporary relief from pain, they sometimes do not provide long-term solutions. Nonetheless, many physicians will suggest combining medication with other treatment options due to its effectiveness in relieving pain while having minimal side effects. 

Shoe Inserts And Footwear

While shoe inserts and special shoes cannot always resolve the underlying problem that is causing the neuroma, they can help to offload or redistribute pressure away from the area, thus reducing symptoms.

A podiatrist may recommend custom orthotics to offer comfort and support. Special wide-width shoes may also be recommended if your feet are prone to developing painful neuroma nodules. Good-quality arch supports, heel cups, and arch cushions that can fit into any type of shoe may also help with relieving nerve pressure and maximizing comfort when walking.

It is important to note, however, that while shoe inserts and footwear may have benefits in providing relief from neuroma pain, there is also evidence that suggests that improper fittings may increase the risk of further development of symptoms. Therefore, it is important to discuss any plans for buying special footwear or getting shoe inserts with your doctor to ensure that you are using appropriate-fitting sizes and supportive materials.

Contact The Foot Experts In Eagle Mountain, UT

At Rogers Foot & Ankle Institute, you have many treatment options to explore! Our team of reliable doctors is fully equipped to use both non-invasive and invasive treatments to address the root cause of your health issues and help you achieve optimal health. We are committed to providing personalized care and ensuring that you receive the best possible treatment for your foot problems. Contact us at 801-756-4200 to request an appointment today!