Walking on a Pebble? It Could Be Nerve Damage


If you always feel like you’ve got a pebble in your shoe, you should probably make an appointment with the expert foot doctors of Monmouth County - Dr. Samantha Boyd, Dr. Hal Ornstein, Dr. Joseph Saka, and Dr. Katy Statler of Affiliated Foot & Ankle Center. Our podiatrists have treated many a patient with this classic symptom of a neuroma.

What’s a neuroma?

If you picture the inside of your foot, you’ll see in your mind’s eye the long bones that make up the middle section. These are the metatarsal bones that connect your ankle to your toes. In between each metatarsal bone lies a long nerve. When there’s damage to one of those nerves, it can get irritated and enlarged.

You may feel as if you’re constantly walking on a pebble, but it’s really the enlarged nerve you’re feeling. Some of our patients have described feeling like their socks are perpetually bunched up. Others may feel a tingling or burning sensation in the ball of their foot, or pain in their toes. 

Who’s at risk?

Neuromas occur when a nerve in the foot becomes compressed, which can happen in a number of ways:

· Shoes - cramming toes into a narrow space or continually wearing high heels, which force the toes to take more of your body weight

· Repetitive stress - running is a great example, as are court sports like tennis and racquetball, because they place such demands on the ball of the foot

· Foot deformities - pre-existing conditions like hammertoes, arch problems, or bunions can make conditions ripe for neuromas to form

· Injury - any accident that jolts the foot can inflame a nerve

How to treat a neuroma

There are a number of non-invasive methods to treating a neuroma:

· Rest - avoiding activities that cause discomfort

· Shoe inserts to relieve pressure

· Changing your shoe style to prevent the chances of compression

· Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications or steroid injections here at our office

In advanced cases, foot surgery may become the only option. It’s important to note that if you don’t treat a neuroma, damage to the nerve can become permanent. Let us determine the best course of action to treat your neuroma. Call us at our office in Howell at (732) 905-1110 or contact us online.