If you’ve ever had a stone in your shoe, you know that it’s not very comfortable when you try to walk. You need to find the nearest bench, take a seat to remove your shoe, and dump out the contents. Well, what if, despite this, you put your shoe back on but the discomfort was still there? If still feels like you are walking on a stone, you may have neuromas.
Putting on the Squeeze
Also referred to as a pinched nerve, this condition is a thickening of nerve tissues that occur as a result of compression and irritation. These benign growths squeeze the nerve, causing pain, numbness, tingling, and a burning sensation. While this can happen in various parts of your body, one common location it develops is in your feet, more specifically, between your third and fourth toes. This is known as Morton’s neuroma and can make walking painful and difficult.
Pitch Those Pointy-toed Shoes!
The exact cause of this condition is unclear, but there are a number of known factors that can contribute to its development. One of the most common is improper footwear. If you opt for high heels and pointy toed shoes, these put excessive pressure on the balls of your feet, force toes into an abnormal position, and compress and irritate the nerves.
Injury or repetitive stress can create or aggravate a neuroma as well. This means those with occupations that involve long periods of time on their feet, as well as those who participate in sports like running and tennis, are at an increased risk. High or no arches in your feet can also lead to the condition, as can deformities such as bunions and hammertoes.
Pay Attention to Problems
Symptoms typically begin as gradual and sporadic. As the condition progresses, however, so do the symptoms. You will go from occasional discomfort to constant pain and numbness. Left untreated, the nerve damage can eventually become permanent, so it is vital that you know the signs of neuromas. Besides pain in your forefoot and between toes, you will also experience tingling and numbness in the ball of your foot, as well as swelling in the affected area. It will be difficult to bear weight, and when you do, it may feel as though your sock is bunched up or you have a stone in your shoe. Don’t ignore these signs! The sooner you can take pressure off of the nerve, the better chance you have of full recovery.
Preventing the Progress
The first step toward relief and recovery is making sure your shoes offer plenty of room and cushioning. Styles with laces are a good choice since they allow you to adjust the width. Soles should be thick and shock absorbent with low heels. Orthotic inserts can help distribute pressure evenly and correct biomechanical issues that may be contributing to the problem. There are pads you can use to support and protect the affected area as well. Rest, ice, and massage will expedite the healing process too. If the condition has progressed too far or pain persists despite conservative treatments, surgery may need to be considered.
If you are experiencing symptoms consistent with neuromas, contact Podiatry Associates, P.C. as soon as possible. We can determine the extent of your nerve damage and help you get the treatment you need. Call to make an appointment with Dr. Cynthia Oberholtzer-Classen or another member of our podiatric team by dialing (303) 805-5156 today. You can also reach us online or at any of our convenient locations in Parker or Castle Pines, CO.
Photo Credit: Renjith Krishnan via FreeDigitalPhotos.net