Alcohol sclerosing injections are a conservative therapy to treat neuritis and painful nerve conditions. The most common use for these injections is neuromas.
A neuroma is an enlarged, benign growth of nerves, most commonly between the third and fourth toes. Neuromas are caused by tissue and/or bone rubbing against and irritating the nerves. Pressure from poorly fitting shoes or an abnormal bone structure can also lead to this condition. Symptoms may include sensations of thickness, burning, numbness, tingling, or pain in the ball of the foot.
Treatments generally include wearing corrective shoes or orthotics and/or receiving cortisone injections. If cortisone injections fail, an alcohol sclerosing injection is another conservative therapy before surgical removal of the neuroma is considered. In severe cases, however, surgical removal of the growth may be necessary.
Alcohol sclerosing injections, also known as chemical neurolysis, are made up of a dilute solution (4%) of ethyl alcohol. They are given in weekly intervals until symptoms are resolved. It can take anywhere from 3-7 injections for 100% relief to be obtained. This procedure has fewer potential complications than surgical removal, and has a reported success rate up to 89%*.
(*Dockery GL: The treatment of intermetatarsal neuromas with 4% alcohol sclerosing injections. JFAS, 38(6):403-408, 1999.)