A neuroma is a growth of the nerve tissue. The growth may be in the form of a tumour or a thickening around the nerve. Neuromas are generally benign, meaning that they are non- cancerous. These days, many nerve tumours or neuromas are referred to by different other terms. The most common type of neuroma is Morton’s neuroma, which affects your foot, usually in the space between the third toe and the fourth toe. It is a very painful condition.
Is Neuroma Surgery Painful?
If none of the conservative methods work, or in cases that conservative methods cannot be implemented, doctors may recommend a surgery. The surgical procedure can be done by two methods- decompression and neurectomy.
Decompression Neuroma Surgery
In decompression neuroma surgery, the structures neighboring the affected nerve may be cut off, so that the pressure on the affected nerve is decreased and there is a scope for movement of the affected toes. In this case, the ligament that connects some of the front structures of the foot may be removed. In this technique, the affected nerve is kept intact.
Neurectomy Neuroma Surgery
Neurectomy neuroma surgery refers to a method in which the affected nerve is cut off to relieve the pressure and other signs and symptoms of Morton’s neuroma. The affected nerve is cut far off from the ball of the foot, so that there should be no scarring of the nerves in the ball of the foot. If scarring happens, it may be again painful to walk. The surgery is usually performed by getting to the affected nerve from the top of the foot, in between the space of the third toe and the fourth toe. Generally, taking an incision on the bottom of the foot is avoided, as this may cause a scar on the sole of the foot which may lead to a difficulty or pain while walking later.
The surgical procedures are done under anesthesia. Hence, you will not feel any pain while the surgery is being done. However, once the effect of the anesthesia wears off, it is possible that you feel some pain and discomfort at the site of surgery. Hence, you will be prescribed anti-inflammatory medications and painkillers for a few days after surgery. These will help in reducing any inflammation from within or without and will help you take care of the pain and feel more comfortable.
The recovery after the surgery of Morton’s neuroma is generally not a problem. There will be a shoe given by your doctor for walking for a few days after surgery. You may be able to return to your normal walking within 2-6 weeks. Establishing a complete pre- surgical routine will take around 3-6 months. The healing process is different for everyone and may be affected due to various factors like age and smoking. Poor nutrition and some medical problems may also be responsible for poor healing.
A neuroma surgery is done if the conservative measures fail to give results. The surgery is done under anesthesia and hence is not painful. However, post-surgery, there may be some pain and inflammation which can be tackled with anti-inflammatory medicines and pain-killers.
The doctors usually try to use conservative mode of treatment for Morton’s neuroma. This includes-
- Giving ample rest to the affected foot
- Giving the site an ice compression
- Keeping the affected foot elevated
- Using the right footwear
- Wearing shoes that are supportive
Using orthotics like padding, cushioning or arch supports- these are available over the counter or can be custom made as per the curves and contours of your foot
- Using shoes with a wide toe space
- Changing the type of activities that you perform routinely
- Losing weight if you are overweight or obese, so that there is minimum pressure on the affected foot
- Taking anti-inflammatory medications to reduce swelling and pain
Taking steroid injections on prescription of a doctor. These act rapidly in reducing inflammation and pain.