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Jeruba's avatar

Any experience with surgery for foot neuroma?

Asked by Jeruba (45823points) December 29th, 2016

If you’ve had surgery for Morton’s neuroma or other neuroma of the foot, please share your experience.

Also if you are a practitioner or have pertinent medical knowledge, please fill me in.

I have had cortisone injections, alcohol injections, orthotics, taping, gel pads, special sandals, and radial shock wave (EPAT) therapy, and nothing has helped. The neuroma is about 3/8” in diameter and is causing me a lot of discomfort. The doctor says the only recourse left is surgery.

Do you have any fact-based advice for me?

Thank you.

Tags as I wrote them: neuroma, nerves, foot, surgery, podiatry, Morton’s neuroma, neuropathy, medical.

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7 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

I’m very interested in this. A relative of mine has this, she works on her feet, and suffers quite a bit. She tried accupuncture, which initially she told me helped a lot, but I don’t think that is the case anymore.

Her doctor recommended surgery. According to my relative she understands the surgery to have a 50% success rate. She will not do the surgery. Not yet anyway. She’s afraid of a negative side effect that would make working completely impossible.

She’s had the problem for over 5 years now, but only recently started wearing flatter, more comfortable shoes for some relief. She was one of those 5 inch heals girls. Even daily at work it was 3–5 inches on her shoes.

If you find something helpful I’d be interested to know if you remember, so I can pass it on to my relative.

My own recommendation as additional advice for anyone with nerve or muscle pain is check your vitamin D and B12 levels next time you have blood drawn, and consider spraying magnesium spray on the area 2–3 times a week. I don’t think it is some sort of miracle cure for your problem, but even if it helps a little it’s worth it. The magnesium spray (very cheap at a health food store) is very well absorbed, so don’t go spraying it all over your body in large quantities. Another option is epson salt foot bath, which also puts magnesium on the area.

Judi's avatar

I have done a little research as I have had the sensation of a rock in my shoe at the ball of my foot for a while. It seems to get much better if I lose weight.
One article that I read by a podiatrist said that it is very often misdiagnosed. He told the story of an anastesilogist being impressed at how big a neuroma was and how fast he found it. He was saying that a lot of surgeries happen when the problem wasn’t really a neuroma in the first place. That scared me a bunch and since mine is worse in the morning and seems to get better as I walk on it I decided not to persue any intervention at this point.

JLeslie's avatar

@Judi I wonder when it’s misdiagnosed what it usually really is?

flutherother's avatar

Have you looked at the postings on online forums that discuss neuroma or Morton’s neuroma? I’m sure you have but there is a wealth of first-hand experience to be had there.

picante's avatar

I had a Morton’s neuroma removed from one of my feet twenty years ago. The procedure itself is quick, and the recovery was reasonable quick. You will need to stay off the foot for a couple of days, and you’ll wear the big, blue shoe for a period of time (month, maybe?). The surgery completely relieved the pain, and it hasn’t recurred in that foot. However, I’ve got a blossoming neuroma in the other foot. I’d do the surgery again in a heartbeat to get rid of that debilitating pain. Good luck!

Jeruba's avatar

@picante, was your surgery done from above or below? My doctor says it will take about four months to full recovery. He also said there will be irreversible numbness in the affected toes afterward.

Part of my problem is that I know (from prior experience) that walking off balance will wrench my lower back, which is already sensitive and goes into spasms when strained, spasms that hurt a lot and last up to seven hours.

Also, this puts everything on my right foot, which is the one I injured in 2009 that caused me to wear a soft cast for a full year afterward. It’s never been right again and still hurts. Now it has to be my “good” foot.

Calculating the right tradeoff worries me. I’m afraid of swapping something I can manage to live with at present for something I can’t…versus misjudging how much worse this might get later, at a time when surgery would be even harder to withstand.

picante's avatar

My surgery was done from the top of the foot. I don’t recall that other (surgical) options were discussed, and because I had endured debilitating, lifestyle-altering pain for several years prior to the surgery, the choice was easy for me to make. As to numbness, there is certainly a “smallish” amount of that—but compared to the pain that it replaced, it’s a reasonable price to pay.

I understand your concerns about complications given your pain in the other foot. Looks like you have a lot to weigh in making a final decision. Four months seems like an extraordinary amount of time for recovery, but my surgery was done when I was twenty to thirty years younger, so maybe age is a significant factor in the recovery time.

You say you can manage to live with the pain of the neuroma, and that factor will weigh heavily in your final decision.

My dispassionate view of the situation as you’ve described it is that you’re weighing an unknown future against a reasonably predictable outcome in the present. I’d opt for the surgery and work with my doctors to ensure a recovery plan that mitigated harm to other body parts. If that means complete immobility for four months to get to a “full recovery,” I’d do it.

My more empathetic view understands your hesitance and encourages you to have more dialog with your doctors to develop a recovery plan that appears to mitigate some of your concerns. Your foot – your decision. Best of luck in any path you choose.

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