I have pain in the ball of my foot!
A NEUROMA is an enlarged inflamed nerve found in the ball of the foot. It is sometimes referred to as a Morton’s NEUROMA. The symptoms, commonly associated with a NEUROMA include a sharp, shooting pain, numbness in the toes (Second, third and/or fourth), a cramp in the ball of the foot, a feeling of fullness in the ball of the foot or that something is in your shoe such is a sock being balled up or wrinkled underneath the ball of the foot. People often state that taking the shoe off and rubbing the ball of the foot makes it feel better.
A NEUROMA results when a nerve is pinched in the ball of your foot resulting in a thickening of the tissue surrounding the nerve. Abnormal bone structure can contribute but often shoes are a major contributing factor. Some studies have shown that greater than 50% of NEUROMAS are caused by ill-fitting shoes-shoes that are too narrow, short or not deep enough. Thin soled shoes and those with higher heels are also major contributors in aggravating the condition.
If you have these symptoms there are a few things you can do prior to seeking medical attention. Be sure that you are measured prior to purchasing your shoe gear-this is very important.
Some studies indicate that over 90% of us wear shoes that do not fit correctly and most commonly are too small. When was the last time you had your foot professionally measured?
Foot size, shape, width, girth and length change with age, weight, pregnancy, working conditions, foot health, injury etc. Again, when was the last time you were professionally measured? Be sure that you are professional measured prior to purchasing shoe gear. And just because you are measured as a size 11 D does not mean that you will wear a size 11 D in all shoes. There is no standard shoe size 11D in the shoe industry and therefore a size 11 in one brand of shoes may be a size 10 in another and even a 12 in yet a different brand.
It is best to purchase your gear in the evening after the feet have swollen and would require a wider shoe. Don’t neglect being fitted for the correct width and girth or thickness of your foot also. If the shoe is not wide enough, going to a larger size will not necessarily result in a proper fit. Make sure the widest part of the shoe correlates to the widest part of your foot which is across the ball of the foot. A thicker soled shoe that is not as flexible or flimsy will give you more support and be better for your foot. Heel height is also important because with a higher heel, the foot is forced towards the front of the shoe which has a more pointed narrow nature.
Athletic shoes have higher heels to them than people realize. This is referred to as “foot drop “. It means that the heel of the shoe is much higher than the ball of the shoe. This is easily hidden with the additions to our current athletic shoes and unappreciated even by the trained eye. Remember, be professionally measured by someone who is certified and knows the qualities and traits of the shoes they are selling.
If little relief is received after attempting the aforementioned, medical attention should be sought. Waiting and hoping that the problem will go away sometimes results in the need for surgical excision of the chronically enlarged nerve. This presents minimal postoperative problems as this is a sensory nerve and not a motor nerve that controls function. Sensory nerves allow us to feel, while motor nerves tell the muscles what to do.
If you believe you have a NEUROMA in your foot, don’t wait. Seek treatment early. Conservative measures often work if you catch it early enough!