A neuroma is a swelling/growth in the nerve between your toes. Neuromas can cause burning and tingling sensation in the toes. They also can cause feelings like a “knot” in the ball of the foot and cause numbness between the toes. The exact cause of neuromas is unknown, however, there is a direct correlation in shoe gear and occurrence of neuromas. A neuroma most often occurs between the 2nd and 3rd toes, however it can happen between any of the toes. Anything that compresses on the forefoot, can cause irritation of the nerve and cause or flare up a neuroma. Avoiding heels and tight toed shoes is important in treating the neuroma.
More conservative treatments include injections to reduce the inflammation in the nerve, ultrasound, and more recently, cold laser therapy. Cold laser is a newer approach to neuroma treatment and in my practice has shown some promising results in reducing pain and inflammation. Cold laser is a form of light therapy that works by flooding the area with photons, energizing the damaged cells and increasing circulation to the area. This causes a cascade of healing through the body that results in a reduction of inflammation and reduction or elimination of pain. This is a painless procedure that typically only take a few minutes to complete. The cold laser works best as a series of treatments done frequently. Each person’s body responds differently to treatment. If the conservative treatment is not successful then surgery to remove the neuroma is the last resort.
-Written by Dr. Bradley Gipson, DPM