Neuroma or Mortons Neuroma

 

Neuroma is a medical condition or deformity which is generally formed in the feet. It is also known as Morton’s Neuroma. It occurs as a lump in the feet which can easily be mistaken as a tumour but is actually the tissue which has thickened up due to the deformity. It causes discomfort for the person suffering, giving him/her a feeling of having a lump in the feet and thus a hard time walking with an odd feeling as if walking on a marble.

Other symptoms of this condition include inflammation in the ball of the foot that is the area between the arc and the toes which takes the weight of the body when the heels are up. There are no exterior, visible signs to this condition. Runners generally feel a small discomfort while running when pushing off the ball of the foot.

While this condition is not really a dangerous condition of foot pain, but doctors recommend that it should not be ignored at all. Especially when the pain remains for a long period of time and also does not improve even after conservative treatments. The doctors have not quite been able to figure out the exact cause for this condition, but the history and observation of the treated have shown that continuous excess pressure being applied to a certain part of the foot might be the reason behind it. The lump that is formed is actually nothing but thickening of the nerve tissue. This tissue is formed to protect that part from the excess pressure and not cause any further damage.

Chronic & excessive irritation and pressure generally occurs because of the wrong type of footwear used. Tight shoes with inadequate space at the toe and high heels are the biggest problem causing agents as they both compress the toe bones and pinch the nerves in the feet. High impact sports like athletics or sports requiring constrictive footwear (like rock climbing and ballet) could exert excessive pressure on the nerves of feet. People with foot deformities like bunions, flatfeet, hammertoe, or unusually joint flexibility are at a greater risk of developing Morton’s neuroma.

Treatments for this condition include use of orthotic devices and/or special foot pads made for the purpose which help balance and distribute the pressure equally to all parts of the foot. These devices or pads may be of a standard size or else can be custom made according to the requirement of the user. Tight and constrictive footwear like hiking shoes and high heels should be completely avoided and certain sportspersons should be advised to take a break as well until the condition recovers to avoid any further complications. Also cold therapy and anti-inflammatory medicines can be used for temporary relief from the pain.

Further tests like X-rays, ultrasound or an MRI scan may be performed to check for alternate causes like stress fractures, but overall a physical examination & extenuating conditions are enough for a diagnosis.

When conservative treatments fail to provide relief, then further treatments can be performed upon the suggestion of the doctor. Steroid injections, cryogenic neuroblation (temporary freezing of the inflammatory nerves to stop the pain), decompression surgery to change the nerves or completely remove those nerves, such kinds of invasive treatments can be performed. But this is generally used as a final resort as it often results in permanent numbing of toes in the affected area.

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