A neuroma is thickening of the tissue surrounding a nerve that travels between the base of two toes. It is caused by repeated mild injury to the space between two toes, most commonly associated with bio-mechanical problems. It can be aggravated by inappropriate footwear. Any footwear that increases weight bearing on the ball of the foot such as high heels can make the problem unbearable. It can be associated with some activities such as long distance running. The impingement causes the nerve to thicken which in turn makes it more vulnerable to compression pain.
A neuroma is first diagnosed based on the history of the type of pain someone is having. There are also ways to examine the foot that can diagnose this condition. In some cases an MRI is done to obtain pictures of the tissue in the foot.
This is a painful condition and fortunately many people attend for treatment in its early stages. The nerve is painful long before any significant thickening of the nerve occurs. If caught early enough, treatment can prevent this from progressing.
The simplest form of treatment involves wearing low-heeled shoes that are not tight. Temporary or permanent Orthotics are also very effective in the early stages,
The pain caused by a neuroma can progress and become very severe and surgery becomes necessary.