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 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.
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.