A neuroma is a painful swelling of a nerve, usually in the ball or heel of the foot. Symptoms include sporadic pain; burning, tingling or numbness of one or more toes; and a popping sensation when walking. Pain is often soothed by taking weight off the foot or by massaging the area.
In the foot, there are the long bones (metatarsals) and thin nerves running between them. The nerves split in a Y-shape when they reach the toes. If the metatarsals move abnormally, they can pinch the nerve between them, causing inflammation and, eventually, permanent nerve damage. Morton's Neuroma is the most common of this type and affects the nerve between the third and fourth toes. Neuromas may also occur after a nerve has been injured, either from a traumatic wound or from damage suffered during surgery.
A physical examination and one or more imaging tests will determine whether the pain is caused by a neuroma or by a condition with similar symptoms such as arthritis, stress fractures, tendon inflammation, tarsal tunnel syndrome and nerve compressions in the ankle or leg. Treatment begins with a combination of cortisone injections to reduce swelling and orthotic inserts to correct problematic metatarsal movement. If the nerve is permanently damaged, the patient may decide to undergo chemical destruction of the nerve, have the nerve surgically removed, or endure the pain.
While children are affected by many of the same foot problems as adults, there are certain conditions that pertain specifically to children, many of which develop during the first few years of life. These conditions may be present at birth as a result of genetic factors or birth trauma, or may be acquired during the early years of childhood. It is important to seek proper treatment for pediatric foot conditions to ensure that your child's feet will continue to grow and develop normally with no ongoing problems.
Some of the foot problems most commonly affecting children include:
Clubfoot involves the foot turning inward to the side, resembling the head of a golf club. This condition can affect one or both feet and is usually present at birth, although the cause is unknown.
Also known as pigeon toes, in-toeing involves walking with the feet turned inward. This condition usually occurs between 8 and 15 months, when the child begins to walk, and usually affects both legs.
Most children are born with flat feet, with arches developing as the feet strengthen. In some cases, this condition may continue into adolescence and cause pain in the feet, ankles or legs.
Pediatric heel pain is often caused by a disorder called calcaneal apophysitis, and is most common in children between the ages of 8 and 14 years old. Unlike adult heel pain that tends to improve as the day goes on, pediatric heel pain is often worse with walking and activity.
There are many treatment options available for pediatric foot problems. The best treatment for your child will depend on his or her individual condition, but may include stretching exercises, casting, orthotics and surgery. Many children can successfully overcome their foot problems and may play sports and continue to grow unaffected. Parents should bring their child to see a doctor at the first sign of foot problems in order to prevent the condition from causing permanent damage.
To learn more about our Podiatry Services, please contact us at (847) 475-0200 today to schedule an appointment.