Ways to avoid aches in feet from neuroma
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By Julie Ann Anderson  February 28, 2014 12:00 am

Aching feet are a real pain, but they’re far too often a reality for seniors; therefore, practicing proper older adult foot care is essential. One foot problem with which many people are unfamiliar but which is fairly common is called neuroma. 


What is neuroma?

As the “neuro” part of the name suggests, neuroma involves a nerve issue. Simply put, a neuroma is an irritated, swollen nerve, commonly called a pinched nerve or less commonly, a nerve tumor. The condition may begin merely as a small inflammation, but if left untreated it may grow to become a major pain. Neuromas most often develop on the underside of the foot, usually in the ball and frequently between the third and fourth toes.

For some unknown reason, neuromas of the foot are much more common among women than among men.


What causes neuromas?

Science hasn’t pinpointed the exact cause of foot neuromas yet, but it has identified a few factors that often are associated with them. These include:


• Atypical foot formations: People with high arches or flat feet are more prone to neuromas than those with traditional foot structures.


• Trauma: Abnormal pressure or the foot coming suddenly and unexpectedly into contact with a hard object can produce a nerve issue.


• Bad choice of shoes: Shoes that are too tight, especially in the toe area, or have heels higher than two inches create pressure on the nerves and can lead to this condition.


How to prevent neuroma?

The best way of preventing neuroma is to wear appropriate shoes – nothing too tight, nothing with a heel over two inches. In addition, shoe heels should have adequate padding for proper support.


What about treatment?

A slight neuroma may respond to simple personal ministrations, including:

 • Taking weight off the foot and giving it a nice massage.


• Applying an ice pack or other source of cold.


• Using shoe pads to help cushion and support the neuromatic area.

Even neuromas that respond to self-treatment should be reported to and seen by a podiatrist. For severe cases, anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed; custom shoe inserts are also a popular option, especially if neuromas recur. In some extreme cases, surgery may be necessary. Adequate older adult foot care can help prevent the occurrence of neuromas, but if they do appear, it's important to seek proper treatment.


Julie Ann Anderson is the owner of Home Instead Senior care office in Rohnert Park; mother of two and passionate about healthy living at all ages. Having cared for her parents, she understands your struggles and aims, through her website, www.homeinstead.com/sonoma to educate and encourage seniors and caregivers. Have a caregiving or aging concern? She’d love to hear from you at 586-1516 anytime.

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