Neuroma is a term for an enlarged nerve. Foot nerves between the metatarsals are the most likely nerves within the foot to experience thickening or neuroma.
These intermetatarsal nerves of the foot are numbered by the interspace they lay within, 1st interspace along the medial (inside) of the foot, and progressing out to the 4th interspace closer to the lateral (outside) of the foot.
The most common intermetatarsal nerve to suffer from neuroma is the 3rd intermetatarsal nerve or Morton’s nerve. Morton’s neuroma specifically relates to an enlargement of the Morton’s or 3rd intermetatarsal nerve. All other foot nerve enlargements of the 1st, 2nd and 4th intermetatarsal nerves are simply referred to as a neuroma.
Some of the most common signs and symptoms of a neuroma include:
- Burning, stinging, stabbing, or shooting nerve pain
- Tingling of the forefoot or toes
- Foot cramping or numbness
The first and most important step in the conservative and natural management of neuroma involves a departure from conventional footwear and toward naturally shaped footwear. Avoid toe spring, heel elevation and tapering toe boxes when selecting footwear.
A shoe that possesses a toe spring will increase stress on intermetatarsal nerves and increase your likelihood of developing a neuroma. Naturally shaped footwear possesses a toe box that is widest at the ends of the toes and allows all toes to spread (an action that can be further enabled with the use of Correct Toes).
Spreading the toes with the use of Correct Toes toe spacers encourages spreading and space around each intermetatarsal nerve. Decreasing pressure on intermetatarsal nerves offloads nerve compression and irritation.
Additionally, the natural position of the toes helps optimize circulation in the foot tissues. Treatments for neuroma include:
- Gradual transition to foot-healthy footwear
- Consider using Correct Toes for realignment
- Use metatarsal pads to redistribute pressure
- Perform toe extensor stretches for foot flexibility
- Apply heat therapy for relaxation and comfort.
Explore hydrotherapy for pain relief
Neuroma Relief Products
- Toe Spacers – Wearing toe spacers can be beneficial for neuroma by creating space between the toes, which helps reduce compression on the affected nerves.
- Metatarsal Pads – Use of metatarsal pads can help offload pressure from the affected nerves, redistributing pressure on the forefoot, and reducing the compression and irritation of the neuroma.
- Wide-toe Box Shoes – Wide toe box shoes provide ample space for the toes to spread out, reducing compression and pressure on the neuroma.
- Toe Socks – By reducing friction between the toes, toe socks can prevent irritation and provide relief to the foot.
Conservative Care Techniques for Neuroma
Transition to foot-healthy footwear
Use of toe spacers
Use of metatarsal pads