The common symptoms include burning, numbness, thickness, shooting, or tingling in your toes or in the ball of your foot. It is usually in the area of the second, third or fourth toes. It can be relieved by removing your shoes or massaging your feet.
These symptoms experienced may be known as a Morten’s neuroma. A neuroma is thickening of nerve tissue that may develop commonly in the foot. It is almost always a benign (non-cancerous) condition. A neuroma is caused by an irritation or compression of a nerve in the ball of the foot.
A neuroma may be the result of excessive rolling or “pronation” and/or from wearing poorly designed and fitted shoes. A diagnosis of neuroma is based on the symptoms described by the patient. Sometimes an ultrasound or MRI can be used to assist in the diagnosis.
Differential diagnosis may include: lumbar radiculopathy, tarsal tunnel syndrome, metatarsal or stress fracture, Freiberg’s infraction, peripheral neuritis or neuropathy, intermetatarsal bursitis, rupture of the plantar plate, capsulitis of the metatarsophalangeal joints.
Conservative treatment can begin with padding the foot with a metatarsal pad. Orthotic devices are very effective for treating this problem. Other treatments include anti-inflammatory drugs, local steroid injections, Ethanol Ablation, and changing the type of shoe worn. Early diagnosis and treatment of the problem will increase the success of conservative care. In some cases, you may need to have surgery.