A neuroma occurs when a nerve suffers a cut and starts to grow abnormally in an effort to heal itself. The overgrown nerve thickens and forms a ball of scar tissue and new nerve fibers.
In many cases, a neuroma presents no symptoms, which allows it to go unnoticed.
In some cases, a neuroma makes its presence known with painful symptoms. These symptoms range from minor irritation to debilitating pain.
Common types of neuroma
A neuroma can occur on any part of the body that has a lacerated nerve. However, it is more common in some areas than others. There are also certain situations that put you at risk of developing a neuroma.
Here are some common types of neuromas and their causes.
This condition is caused by damage to any one of the nerves found at the ball of the foot. These are the same nerves that extend to the toes, and they become damaged when exposed to constant stress and pressure.
Morton’s neuroma usually happens to women who wear high heels or people who play sports that put pressure on the ball of the foot.
People who suffer from Morton’s neuroma experience:
- Numbness or pins and needles in the toes
- Pain that starts at the ball of the foot and radiates to the toes
- The sensation of stepping on a pebble in a shoe
Morton’s neuroma is usually is easy to treat. In many cases, treatment involves swapping high heels for comfortable shoes or avoiding activities that put stress on the foot. Sometimes, a doctor will prescribe steroid injections to reduce the inflammation in the foot
If the pain remains persistent, the doctor may choose surgery as a last resort.
2. Neuroma of the hand
This type of neuroma usually affects the back of the hand. It happens as a result of repeated pressure or trauma to the radial nerve. The people who are most vulnerable to this type of neuroma are those who spend their days hammering and drilling. For this reason, a hand neuroma is usually considered an occupational injury.
Neuroma of the hand comes with the following symptoms:
- The injured nerve forms a nodule at the back of the hand, near the injured finger
- The nodule becomes tender and painful to the touch
- The person may feel pain even when the nodule remains undisturbed
- When a doctor taps the damaged nerve, the patient will immediately experience pins and needles
To treat the neuroma, a doctor will first try medication. If that does not work, the neuroma is treated by burying the problem nerve in the bone or muscle of the hand, where it will be protected from trauma.
3. Acoustic neuroma
This condition affects the main nerve that connects the ear and the brain. The symptoms of this neuroma often take a while to manifest.
Symptoms may include:
- Gradual or sudden hearing loss
- Ringing in the ears
- Loss of balance and vertigo
In severe cases, an acoustic neuroma can grow large enough to put pressure on the brain. When this happens, the neuroma can be life-threatening.
Doctors will monitor an acoustic neuroma. If it continues to grow, they may shrink it with radiation or remove it with surgery.
4. Post-surgical neuroma
This type or neuroma happens when a nerve is cut during procedures like amputations, mastectomies or knee surgery. A person with this type of neuroma will experience prolonged postoperative pain.
When possible, a doctor will try to treat the neuroma with medication. However, such neuromas often require surgical treatment.
Never settle for a life of chronic pain
If you have been in pain for a while, visit our office to determine the cause. Take the first step in getting rid of the pain by seeing if you have a neuroma or other condition.
Request an appointment here: https://www.pocatellopodiatry.com or call Ambulatory Foot & Ankle Clinic at (208) 803-0010 for an appointment in our Pocatello office.
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