Thursday, June 26, 2008

Neuroma's & Reflexology

Can reflexology help with a neuroma? The answer is “Yes”.
Reflexology can help as an integrative care therapy. By working on the feet, you can help with pressure and inflammation, caused by the neuroma, along with a general de-stressing of the entire body.
A neuroma is a thickening of the nerve that arises from irritation of the nerve resulting in an inflammation of the nerve sheath, or covering of the nerve and the formation of scar tissue around the nerve. This is a benign condition that involves the small nerves that run between the metatarsal bones in the ball the foot. The most common nerve to develop this condition is the nerve supplying the third and fourth toes.
This is called a Morton's neuroma. It can also involve the nerves that supply the other digits as well. It usually develops when tight, poorly fitting shoes, often those with high-heels, cause the third and fourth metatarsal bones to pinch together compressing an underlying nerve. Injury, arthritis, or abnormal bone structures may also cause this condition.
Symptoms Include:
- tingling, burning, or numbness around the third and fourth toe
- a feeling that there is a lump in the ball of the foot
- symptoms begin periodically and progress in intensity and frequency
- exacerbated by walking on hard surfaces or wearing high heels or tight shoes What You Can Do About It:
Pain from Morton's neuroma can be reduced by taking off the shoe and massaging the area. Reflexology, Daily footbaths*, cold whirlpool and ultrasound can help decrease inflammation and pain. It is important to have the mechanics of the feet addressed and any lack of movement in the joints of the foot should be addressed and corrected. Roomier shoes, and a metatarsal pad, placed on the heel-side of metatarsal heads, can often alleviate the pain. Orthotics can also be helpful. If conservative measures fail, cortisone injections or surgery may be needed. (note: nerve tissue may regrow after surgery and form another neuroma)
*footbath: Epsom Salt softens the skin, soothes aches, reduces swelling, inflammations, exfoliates the skin, removes odors, draws toxins from the body, sedates the nervous system, relaxes the muscles, provides relief from joint soreness and arthritic pain, and is a natural emollient. Unlike other salts, it does not leave the skin feeling dry. Add ½ cup of Epsom Salt to a large basin or footbath of warm (not hot) water. Essential oils, such as Lavender or Rosemary, may be added to enhance relaxation and medicinal effects. -Nancy Bartlett

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