How Long Does a Neuroma Take to Heal?

woman with pain in her footWhat is a Neuroma?

A neuroma, also referred to as Morton’s neuroma is a non-cancerous but unwanted growth of nerve tissue in the foot. It is usually positioned between the third and fourth toe, although it can develop in other locations.

What Causes of a Neuroma?

A neuroma is caused by a swollen nerve on the ball of the foot. The exact causes are not yet known. However, doctors believe that wearing high heels and playing certain sports may contribute to the condition.

What Are Symptoms of a Neuroma?

The main symptom of a neuroma is a persistent, usually sharp pain in the foot. The pain is enclosed in the ball of the foot. It may also be accompanied by numbness in and around the same area. Most patients report that the symptoms temporarily improve when they remove their footwear and massage the area. However, the feelings quickly return when normal activity resumes.

Symptoms worsen when the foot bears weight and may temporarily subside when the patient is at rest. Outward signs of a neuroma, such as a visible lump, are relatively rare. The pain is usually sharp but may sometimes be dull. Acute, intense pain while walking may occur.

Treatment Options for Neuroma

Treatment of neuroma can take a variety of forms depending on the condition’s severity:

Home Treatment

Most patients should begin with home treatment before doctors will prescribe a more intensive approach. Over the counter, anti-inflammatory medication can help. You may choose to ice the area by freezing a water-filled cup and rolling it over the site of pain.

Changing Your Routine

Take a close look at your footwear and eliminate any unnecessarily high heels or tight shoes that may not fit correctly. You may want to take a break from sports and any other activities that produce pressure on the foot for about three weeks so healing can occur.

Corticosteroid Injections

Certain steroid medications are highly effective at reducing inflammation and pain. A limited number of small injections will be performed based on the severity of the condition and the patient’s overall health.

Alcohol Sclerosing Injections

Alcohol injections have been demonstrated to lessen the overall size of neuroma as well as helping to control the associated pain. Injections are usually spaced out every 7 to 10 days. To maximize the potency and duration of relief, the course of treatment includes 4-7 injections in total.

Neuroma Surgery

Neuroma surgery is only performed in the most severe cases, where symptoms have persisted for 9-12 months.

There are two main types of neuroma surgery. In the dorsal approach, an incision is made in the top of the foot. This allows the patient to walk shortly after surgery since no stitches are located in weight-bearing areas of the foot. When possible, it is typically the preferred route.

The plantar approach involves an incision on the sole of the foot. During recovery, crutches are required for about a month. A scar will result that can cause discomfort while walking. However, it is easy to reach the neuroma and to remove it without cutting into any foot structures.

If you believe you have symptoms of a neuroma, contact Northeastern Foot and Ankle to make an appointment.