Pain in your forefoot, usually between your third and fourth toes, with numbness or tingling extending through those toes, almost always indicates a neuroma. A neuroma hurts more when you're wearing shoes and feels better when you take them off and massage your feet. Neuromas slowly become more painful.Causes
A neuroma is caused by a pinching or irritation of one or more nerves in your forefoot, usually as a result of poor biomechanics. If you overpronate, the bones in your forefoot the metatarsals become a little "looser" and have more movement, which in turn irritates the nerves that run between the metatarsal heads. Accompanying the irritation is inflammation and pain. If a neuroma is left untreated, scar tissue can develop around the nerve, creating even more pain.Treatment
Try using a metatarsal pad (a soft, heart-shaped pad) under your metatarsal area. This should reduce the motion of the metatarsals and lessen the irritation, provided the nerve damage is not too severe. Some arch supports and shoe inserts have metatarsal pads incorporated in them, and these can provide more relief. If these measures don't work, see a podiatrist or orthopedist. The nerve damage may be severe, and your doctor may consider cortisone injections. As a last resort, surgery may be necessary to remove the damaged nerve. This will solve the problem, but it can lead to permanent numbness between your toes.Prevention
Since overpronation is often the culprit in neuromas, switch to firmer, motion-control shoes to limit excessive pronation.Can you run with it?
You can, but it's best to wait until the nerve irritation dissipates before doing long runs.
Run The Planet thanks Running The World for the permission to reprint the article “Fourteen common foot ailments and their cures”. Text copyright © 2001 by Running The World.