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A neuroma is a painful swelling or irritation of a nerve, occurring in the ball of the foot. This is usually caused by an abnormal position or movement of the metatarsal bones in your foot. Symptoms include periodic burning, tingling or numbness of one or more toes when walking. Pain is often soothed by taking weight off the foot or by massaging the area.
Morton's Neuroma is the most common of this type and affects the nerve between the third and fourth toes. Neuromas may also occur after a nerve has been injured, either from a traumatic wound or from damage suffered during surgery.
A physical examination and one or more imaging tests will determine whether the pain is caused by a neuroma or by a condition with similar symptoms such as arthritis, stress fractures, tendon inflammation, tarsal tunnel syndrome and nerve compressions in the ankle or leg. Treatment usually begins with a cortisone injection, anti-inflammatory medication and orthotic inserts to correct problematic metatarsal movement. If the nerve is permanently damaged, the patient may decide to undergo surgical removal of the nerve if conservative care fails