Spring is in the air and the Cooper River Bridge run is three weeks away. If you are training for the bridge run and are experiencing discomfort on the ball of your feet you may have a Neuroma. The combination of wearing narrow, pointed-toed shoes at work and the pounding of that your feet endure from running on hard surfaces can cause a neuroma, a painful nerve disorder of the feet. It can be a stressful combination for your feet.
Active women who enjoy running, especially those with flat feet, are prone to develop neuromas. A nerve located between the toes becomes enlarged and inflamed and produces tingling, burning pain.
Neuromas enlarge as the condition progresses, causing pain and numbness to a consistent area at the base of the toes. Patients often complain it feels as if something is stuck inside the ball of the foot. The symptoms may go away temporarily by massaging the foot, wearing wider shoes with low heels, and tapering your running and other activities that aggravate the condition.
Symptoms become more intense as the nerve enlarges and the temporary damage becomes permanent, so it's best to seek treatment if discomfort persists for more than a few days.
Neuromas can develop in different areas of the foot. The most common occurrence is called Morton's neuroma, which develops at the base of the third and fourth toes. Thickening and swelling of the nerve usually is caused by compression and irritation from wearing very narrow shoes or high heels that crunch the toes in the front of the shoe. A neuroma can be detectable with an ultrasound examination , but the diagnosis is typically based on symptoms and a physical examination to palpate the nerve or a maneuver that elicits an audible click.
Treatment options for Morton's neuroma depend on how far the condition has progressed. At early stages, padding (Metatatarsal pad) lessens pressure on the nerve, icing reduces swelling, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications and cortisone injections decrease pain and inflammation, and over the counter or custom orthotic devices provide support to reduce compression. If you are training for the bridge run it may help to run on softer surfaces such as grass or dirt trails until the condition improves.
In severe cases, surgery might be the best option to provide relief.
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