A neuroma is a noncancerous growth of nerve cells. It can appear at any part of nerve cells anywhere in the body. It is a painful condition marked by the swelling in the affected area. It develops most commonly in auditory nerve of the brain or in the nerves of the foot. It affects women more than men. It is caused by repetitive injuries to the affected area and many more. Its symptoms include tingling, numbness, burning, and pain in the affected area. It can be managed by medicines and other treatment options discussed below.
How Do You Treat A Neuroma?
A neuroma is an abnormal growth in the nerve cells at the site where the nerve is injured. A neuroma is formed due to partial or complete disruption in nerve fibers by a trauma or injury. This injury can be caused by a cut or a crush or excessive stretching or surgery in the region of nerve. It affects women more than men in their middle ages.
The treatment of neuroma depends on the types and severity of the case. It does not go on its own. It requires treatment.
Medicines- anti-inflammatory medicines can reduce the pain and swelling of the nerve. It comes under the first line of treatment of neuroma.
Icepacks- ice packs are applied to the affected areas mostly on the enlarged or bulging neuroma. It helps in the reduction of swelling and pain. It is recommended to apply ice packs for three to four times a day for about 20-30 minutes.
Corticosteroid Injections- corticosteroid injections or cortisone injections are the most effective mode for the treatment of neuroma. They work well by reducing inflammation and pain. Most patients recover well from neuroma but they have side effects. These side effects include local atrophy of soft tissues like tendons and ligaments, weakening of muscles and bones. It may cause so much weakening that muscles may get injured or ruptured. It may also lead to the loss of pigmentation of the skin. So, physicians usually prescribe small doses of these injections for a small period of time.
Orthotics – custom or over-the-counter orthotics is highly useful in the treatment of neuroma. It reduces the pressure exerted on the tissues around the nerve, thereby relieving pain and inflammatory symptoms. Just padding of shoes can relieve neuroma.
Physical Therapy- when all the above treatment options fail to provide relief to the symptoms, then physical therapy is recommended under the supervision of a physiotherapist.
Surgery – antidepressant or anti-seizure medicines are given prior to the surgery. Local anesthesia is given to block the pain caused by nerves. The neuroma is then removed out and the nerve is positioned deeper into the tissues to avoid direct stimulation. Painkillers and other medicines are given to avoid the pain of surgery.
Other Conservative treatment
It includes avoidance of high heel shoes or improperly fitted footwear to remove the probable risk factors.
Types Of Neuroma
There are two common types of neuroma.
Acoustic Neuroma– it develops in the eighth cranial nerve in between brain and inner ear. It affects hearing and balance. It causes 7 % of brain tumors.
Morton’s Neuroma– it develops in the nerve cells at the base of feet. It causes pain while walking or performing activities with feet especially done on a hard surface or when attempted barefoot.
Diagnosis Of Neuroma
A neuroma is diagnosed on the basis of its symptoms representation, medical history and physical examination of the patient. The physician will check for the area of sensitivity of nerves by tapping directly on the pathways of nerve fibers that will provide exact symptoms and tingling sensation. X-ray, ultrasound, and MRI provide the exact position of the neuroma.
A neuroma is an inflammatory condition of nerve cells caused by injury or persistent pressure of neighboring tissues. It can be treated with conservative methods such as anti-inflammatory medicines, ice packs, corticosteroid injections, use of orthotics, physical therapy and surgery.