Ten Tips for Treating Neuromas

Armen Hareyan's picture

A neuroma is an inflamed nerve. In the foot, the most common place for a neuroma is between the third and fourth toes. The main nerve to your foot originates from the spine and travels down the back of the leg to the bottom of the foot and out to the toes. When the nerve becomes irritated, electrical or burning pain shoots out to the toes when walking. The second, third and fourth toes can become numb. There can be a sensation of walking on a lamp cord or a lump. Removing the shoe and massaging the ball of the foot can bring relief.

To help decrease the pain, try the following tips:

1. Rest. Every step you take aggravates the nerve. Decreasing the time on your feet will help decrease the inflammation. If you walk for exercise, try biking or swimming instead.

2. Avoid activities that aggravate the pain. Squatting, walking or running hills, climbing up and down stairs and carrying heavy items will increase the stress through the ball of the foot and irritate the nerve. Taking the stress off the nerve will help decrease the irritation, decrease the inflammation and accelerate healing.

3. Wear low-heel shoes. Any shoe (cowboy boots or high heeled dress shoes) will place excessive pressure on the ball of the foot. Keep the heel height below 1 inch.

4. Wear shoes with a wide toe box. If the toes are cramped together, this places pressure on the nerve, worsening the irritation. Your toes should have enough room to "wiggle".

5. Wear rigid shoes. Wearing flexible shoes increases the force placed through the ball of the foot. A rigid shoe with a rocker sole will decrease the pressure on the nerve.


6. Ice your foot. Placing ice of the ball of the foot for 20 minutes once or twice a day will decrease pain and inflammation.

7. Use contrast soaks. Start with 5 minutes of heat, then apply 5 minutes of ice, then switch back to heat and alternate for 20-30 minutes. Contrasting between hot and cold will help decrease the inflammation around the nerve.

8. Place a neuroma pad in your shoe. A neuroma pad (similar to a metatarsal pad) can be placed in the shoe, under the ball of the foot. The pad lifts up the bones in the foot to help decrease the pressure on the nerve. The pad should be placed behind the ball of the foot.

9. Slip inserts into your shoe. Make sure the insert you buy is an orthotic. The device should be semi-rigid to help control motion in the foot. These can be bought at your local running shop or sports store.

10. See your podiatrist. If the pain persists after taking these steps, make an appointment with your podiatrist.


Christine Dobrowolski is a podiatrist and the author of Those Aching Feet: Your Guide to Diagnosis and Treatment of Common Foot Problems. To learn more about Dr. Dobrowolski and her book visit http://www.northcoastfootcare.com



hi i have been havjng pain in the ball of my foot for a year when i get the pain i will take it easy for a week or so and thay will slowly get a tiny bit better however when i start to use them again thay will start to hurt again the Dr.said it was mot a Mertens neuroma he pushed my foot together and did not get a pop like an neuroma however i still have some kind of irritation in the nerve to the foot can someone help
Hi, I had a lot of pain. Recently found out that I have neuromas between second and third metatarsos. I have tried laser therapy and it has reduced my pain after the first treatment. Hopefully, I will have my third one tomorrow.
Has the laser treatment worked so far??? Please respond. Thanks
I read online that the laser treatment for Neuromas can be successful, although Mayo clinic didn't mention anything about it. You may really want to discuss this with your doctor and get a second opinion as well.
I am being treated for a neuroma of my left foot. My podiatrist injected it with alcohol 2 weeks ago. It got worse. My Doctor said to give it a week. after 10 days it got somewhat better, but no better than before the injection. He said he usually does 3 injections. I'm seing him tomorrow and will refuse further injections. I'm going to try some other more conservative treatment.
alcohol? mine was treated with a cortisone shot. worked for years.
I have mortons neuropathy on both feet.... I had the alcohol injections....didn't help enough. ....so I had to have surgery.....they moved the inflamed nerve from under the muscle and moved it to on top of the muscle.....I suggest you do surgery as a last resort