What is a Stump Neuroma?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A stump neuroma is an outgrowth from a severed nerve that takes the form of a ball or stump. In some patients, the abnormal nerve growth causes no symptoms, while in others, it can be extremely painful. Numerous types of nerve injuries can lead to the formation of a stump neuroma and treatment options are available for patients with this condition. Treatment is typically overseen by specialists like neurologists and surgeons.

Amputations may cause a stump neuroma.
Amputations may cause a stump neuroma.

Amputations sometimes cause this condition, as they inevitably force the surgeon to sever some nerves when removing the involved limb. Likewise, other types of nerve surgeries, as well as traumatic nerve injuries, can lead to severing of a nerve. When severed, nerve growth factor may be generated to encourage the nerve to grow back, but the nerve cells will grow back in a highly disordered fashion, forming a clotted mass of nerve fibers. These nerve fibers are functional, and can start sending pain signals to the brain.

A stump neuroma may occur in the foot in the wake of surgery.
A stump neuroma may occur in the foot in the wake of surgery.

One common location for a stump neuroma is in the foot in the wake of a surgery to remove an interdigital neuroma, also known as a Morton's neuroma. This nerve disorder involves swelling and irritation of one of the nerves in the foot, causing a patient to experience severe pain. When the nerve is severed in surgery, it may form a stump neuroma, also known as a recurrent neuroma when it occurs in this situation, as it replaces the original neuroma.

Also called end bulb neuromas, stump neuromas can sometimes lead to excruciating pain for patients. Pressure on the stump neuroma will cause pain, and even light or neutral sensations like the brush of clothing over the site will cause pain. In addition, sometimes the nerves fire randomly, sending pain signals when no sensation is being experienced. Surgery to remove the neuromas is an option, but there is a concern about recurrent neuroma, and the risk that the painful growth will simply reappear.

Nerve blocks, using anesthetic to numb the nerve so the patient cannot feel, are another treatment option. A well-placed block can last for an extended period of time and will make the patient feel more comfortable. Nerve stimulation using implanted medical devices is another option for management of stump neuroma, relying on confusing the nerve signals to block the painful sensations. These options will not resolve the neuroma itself, but will address the pain and discomfort for the patient.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments


'Anon' above with the burning pain after surgery, limping around, can't coach anymore -- sounds just like me. It's been six months now since my surgery, and I've been diagnosed with a syndrome/disease of the nervous system (RSD or CRPS) from the surgery. This causes discoloration and severe burning pain that is not curable and can spread through the body.

What's worse is my doc did not actually take out the neuroma, so the ball of my foot still hurts like crap. A large neuroma showed up in the same spot on an ultrasound with my new doc only four months after the supposed removal. And surprise, my surgeon 'lost' the neuroma he supposedly removed - it never left the operating room to get sent out for pathology. I would give anything to go back in time and never get that surgery! I don't wish this RSD and neuroma pain on anyone.


So happy for your mom. My foot neuroma was removed seven weeks ago, and now the pain in the ball of my foot is way worse than before. The area of pain is bigger, and there are weird electrical, zinging sensations in that area. In some spots, even the slightest touch is painful. This has made me disabled for four months now and I am a healthy, 36-year-old teacher who was an avid runner is now disabled.

Nobody wants to fix it, either. My foot doc won't even acknowledge that it's a stump neuroma. He says he's never seen anything like this! Whatever. The surgery fails 10-20 percent of the time, too. Stump neuromas are hell. Walking is painful, and I limp around like a crippled person. Can't coach, can't run, can't dance, can't jump or exercise. Started swimming, but even that is kind of painful. I don't wish a stump neuroma on anyone!


My mom had a very painful foot neuroma. I am pretty sure it was the one referred to in the article, Morton’s neuroma.

It caused her quite a bit of pain for about three of four months before she finally broke down and went to see a podiatrist. He recommended neuroma foot surgery.

She is so glad that she had it done. She had to go through some physical therapy and a recovery period, but now she seems to be back 100%. She can keep up with all the physical activity she did before the pain started.

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