It feels good to eliminate something that squeezes. It’s a relief to finally remove the pinching pressure. However, if the pain from pinched nerves doesn’t go away no matter what you do to reduce the pressure, you are left with consistently painful feet that limit your activities. Neuroma surgery is an option that can help eliminate this problem when nothing else works.
Why Choose Surgery?
Neuroma surgery is used to treat a painful, swollen, pinched nerve that isn’t responding to conservative therapies for relief. It’s very effective for reducing the discomfort associated with the nerve damage, but it does come with its own risks and issues, so it’s reserved for cases where noninvasive methods have failed. The most common problem treated with this procedure is a Morton’s neuroma, which develops between your third and fourth toes.
Neuromas are actually benign nerve tumors. No one is quite sure what causes them to develop, but pressure and damage to the nervous tissue are factors. As it becomes irritated, the tissue swells and thickens, creating pain, tingling, and numbness. Usually it hurts to press on the area of the foot above the growth. A Morton’s neuroma often feels like you’re standing on a marble or a stone. This can make it uncomfortable to wear many shoes or walk for an extended period of time.
Conservative therapies range from changing your shoes to injections of anti-inflammatory medications. Adjusting your footwear to models with more padding and support helps you better absorb shock, putting less pressure on your swollen nerve. You may need orthotics to help manage any biomechanical issues that contribute to the condition. Lowering the inflammation with ice and medication can help manage the discomfort, too; however, all of these methods may not be enough to relieve your pain. In that case, surgery may be your best option.
How’s it Done?
Dr. Robert Parker is a nerve surgery expert who can help you decide if an invasive procedure is really what’s best for your foot. Our highly-trained staff will evaluate your condition and the treatments that have already been used to manage your discomfort. We may need diagnostic images to get a better picture of the damage to the nervous tissue. Then, we will discuss the surgical options.
Neuroma surgery involves entering the foot and either releasing the pressure on the nerve from the tissues around it, or removing the tumor altogether. Attempting to reduce pressure on the affected nerve involves moving or releasing the ligaments around the damaged area. This may or may not include impairing the nerve’s ability to send pain signals to the brain.
Other procedures completely remove the damaged tissue. The swollen mass will be cut away from the foot, immediately relieving the discomfort. This does, however, mean you will have a permanently numb area that may extend into your toes. What will be best for your foot will depend on your needs, health, and lifestyle.
No matter which procedure is chosen, neuroma surgeries are done on an out-patient basis—that means no long hospital stays. Your foot will be treated with a local anesthetic, so it is the only part of your body that is numbed. Once the damage is addressed, the incision will be sutured up and covered with a bandage. You will need to protect your foot in a surgical shoe for a short period of time. You may or may not need crutches to avoid bearing weight as well, depending on the type of procedure performed. Once the stitches are removed, you’ll be able to carefully return to normal activities.
While any surgery comes with some risks, the benefits outweigh living with the pain when it comes to neuroma surgery. If your foot is not responding to conservative treatment, you don’t have to resign yourself to the discomfort or give up your activities. A surgical procedure could help you restore your foot and regain your mobility. Don’t wait until you can hardly walk to treat your condition. Contact Parker Foot & Ankle here in Houston, TX, for more information on how to take care of your lower limbs. You can reach us with your requests by calling (281) 497-2850 or making an appointment on our website.