A neuroma is a non-cancerous condition that causes benign growth in the nerve cells. It can occur in various parts of the body. It is most common in eight cranial nerve and third and fourth toes of the feet. Its causes are not clear, but it can be due to recurrent injuries to the nerve cells, its sheath or roots. It can be caused by rubbing of other tissues on the nerve fibers. Its symptoms include burning sensation, pain, numbness or weakness in the affected areas. It develops more in women than men in their middle age.
What Does A Neuroma Feel Like?
A neuroma is a condition characterized by the enlargement of nerves. It is a pinched nerve or a tumor on the nerve. It is marked by the benign growth of the nerve tissues. It is most commonly seen in middle-aged women. It most commonly develops in third or fourth toes.
Neuroma feels like electric shocks just like felt in the funny bone on the elbow. The patient with neuroma feels like walking with a pebble in the shoe. It causes remarkable discomfort while walking. It is marked by a benign growth on the nerves. It leads to pain in the ball of the foot. The pain is also felt in the toes. This is common in people who are obese. It causes a painful sensation while walking. The pain is the sharp and shooting type that extends to two toes where the nerve fiber ends. This pain is chronic in nature sometimes very severe and gets aggravated after activities. The exact source of pain is hard to recognize, but it comes from the ball of the foot. It generates a burning type of pain that is relieved when shoes are removed. It sometimes causes numbness and tingling in the third and fourth digits of the foot. The ball area may appear more sensitive than normal while walking or other activities on barefoot.
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 while walking or performing activities with feet especially done on a hard surface or when barefoot.
Causes Of Neuroma
The main cause of neuroma is trauma or injury to the foot. It is caused by the rubbing of tissue on the nerves or irritation against the nerve. The intensity of trauma can be minor or major. It can be of an acute or chronic type. Acute type of injury is caused by a slight twisting of feet while walking or stepping on something. A chronic injury is induced by repeated microtrauma to the nerve cells due to excessively flat foot. It can be caused by repetitive injuries in sports like running, racquet sports or skiing.
The pressure exerted on the nerves due to ill-fitted shoes or abnormal structure of feet can cause these benign growths of nerves.
Risk Factors For Neuroma
Age– it is more common in the middle age.
Sex– female is more likely to develop neuroma than males.
Trauma– repeated trauma or stress to the foot may render the risk of developing neuroma.
Shoes-repeated use of improperly fitted shoes or shoes that have heels over two inches can cause this condition.
Abnormalities Of Feet– those who have flat feet or high arches have higher chances of developing a tumor on the nerve.
A neuroma is a benign growth of nerves commonly affecting the third and fourth digits of the foot. It causes pain in these digits that may arise from the ball of the foot. It feels like a pebble in the shoe. It feels like electric shock located at the ball of foot similar to shock felt at the elbow.
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Morton’s Neuroma https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/mortons-neuroma/
- Mayo Clinic. (2020). Morton’s Neuroma https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mortons-neuroma/symptoms-causes/syc-20351935