A puncture wound or laceration that injures a nerve can cause a neuroma. These are called traumatic Neuromas. Neuromas can also result following a surgery that may result in the cutting of a nerve.
The diagnosis of Neuromas is made by a physical exam and a thorough history of the patient’s complaint. Conditions that mimic the pain associated with Neuromas are stress MRI, CT Scan, and nerve conduction studies have little value in the diagnosis of a neuroma. Additionally, these studies can be very expensive and generally the results do not alter the doctor’s treatment plan. If the doctor on his exam cannot feel the neuroma, and if the patient’s symptoms are not what is commonly seen, then nerve compression at another level should be suspected. In this instance, one area to be examined is the ankle.of the metatarsals, inflammation of the tendons in the bottom of the toes, of the joint between the metatarsal bone and the toe, or nerve compression or nerve damage further up in the foot, ankle, knee, hip, or back. X-rays are generally taken to rule out a possible stress fracture or arthritis. Because nerve tissue is not seen on an x-ray, the x-ray will not show the neuroma. A skilled foot specialist will be able to actually feel the neuroma on his exam of the foot. Special studies such as
Just below the ankle bone on the inside of the ankle, a large nerve passes into the foot. At this level, the nerve can become inflamed. This condition is called Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome. Generally, there is not pain at this site of the inflamed nerve at the inside of the ankle. Pain may instead be experienced in the bottom of the foot or in the toes. This can be a difficult diagnosis to make in certain circumstances. Neuromas, however, occur more commonly than Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome.
Treatment for the neuroma consists of cortisone injections, orthotics, chemical destruction of the nerve, or surgery. Cortisone injections are generally used as an initial form of treatment. Cortisone is useful when injected around the nerve, because is can shrink the swelling of the nerve. This relieves the pressure on the nerve. Cortisone may provide relief for many months, but is often not a cure for the condition. The abnormal movements of the metatarsal bones continue to aggravate the condition over a period of time.
To address the abnormal movement of the metatarsal bones, a functional foot orthotic can be used. These devices are custom-made inserts for the shoes that correct abnormal function of the foot. The combination treatment of cortisone injections and orthotics can be a very successful form of treatment. If, however, there is significant damage to the nerve, then failure to this treatment can occur. When there is permanent nerve damage, the patient is left with three choices: live with the pain, chemical destruction of the nerve, or surgical removal or decompression of the nerve (see neuroma surgery).
Article provided by PodiatryNetwork.com.