The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Best Home Treatments For Foot Neuromas

Posted by on Monday, October 16th, 2017

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Neuromas of the foot, also called Morton’s neuroma, are caused by chronic inflammation and the thickening of the nerve in the ball of the foot. The main symptoms are sharp, stabbing pain just under the second, third, and fourth toes. Morton’s neuroma will not go away on its own, and it is not “curable.” As painful as neuromas may be, the good news is that only two in 10 patients will need surgery to manage the symptoms. In fact, you can often manage the pain caused by this condition by following a simple home treatment for foot neuromas.

Morton's neuroma
In most cases, Morton’s neuroma can be treated at home. Image Source: Flickr user Esther Max.

First Step: Change Your Footwear!

The most common strategy used in treating neuromas is changing your footwear. In nearly every instance of Morton’s neuroma, patients were avid high heel wearers, were wearing the wrong size shoe, or regularly wore shoes with narrow toe boxes. Many footwear manufacturers—like ALTRA, New Balance, Dockers, Timberland, and ASICS—offer wider shoes with more room for the feet to spread out. A larger toe box also comes in handy when inserting therapeutic devices into the shoe, such as Yoga Toes®, neuroma cushions, and metatarsal pads that correct biomechanical patterns that aggravate the nerves. Should you wish for a professional shoe size fitting or advice on the best shoes for neuroma sufferers, we are happy to discuss it with you during a consultation.

Massage Goes a Long Way For Neuroma Pain

We like to tell patients, there are far worse things in life than having a daily foot massage! The goal of massage therapy for neuromas is to stretch and open up the space between the metatarsal bones to allow the nerve adequate room to pass. Increasing circulation works wonders in reducing inflammation and related pain.

Focus on the ball of the foot area rather than the toes, gently pulling the metatarsal bones apart and holding them in position to stretch the soft tissues. Then move the metatarsals back and forth to encourage mobility. This video helps show you how to perform the metatarsal mobilization technique. You want to take care not to overstretch the toes or place deep pressure between the metatarsal heads, as this will aggravate the nerve compression.

You will need to perform this massage daily—ideally at the end of the day, after a hot shower or heat application—for lasting results. You can follow your stretching and massage with ice for maximum impact.

OTC Medications

Over-the-counter Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs can reduce swelling and relieve pain. Every individual responds differently to different drugs, but you may try:

  • Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
  • Naproxen (Aleve)

Reducing Activity Level

Many flare-ups of nerve pain are directly related to activity level. As difficult as it may be, sometimes the most effective treatment is to simply stop doing what you’re doing for a few weeks to allow for proper healing. High-impact activities like jogging, tennis, dance, and aerobic exercise are the standard culprits.

Professional Treatment For Foot Neuromas

Above and beyond these at-home measures, a podiatrist can prescribe physical therapy, painless extracorporeal shockwave therapy, cortisone injections for pain, prepare a topical capsaicin preparation, and fashion custom orthotics to add comfortable cushioning to every pair of shoes you own. As a last resort, when nothing seems to help your pain, we will discuss the possibility of neuroma surgery, which typically involves cutting the plantar digital nerve to reduce pain sensations. Sometimes the nerve is removed completely. This means you will have diminished feeling in your feet, which can be another set of problems, as any diabetic with peripheral neuropathy will tell you. Yet, for patients in the most severe pain, surgical intervention may be the best course of action. Our knowledgeable specialists will consult with you and introduce you to a full range of technologies and therapies designed to alleviate your pain before you’re forced to make such a weighty decision. Contact us today to learn more and book an appointment.

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If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.