Foot and Ankle Specialists describe Morton’s neuroma as a painful condition that affects the ball of the foot, most commonly in the area between the third and fourth toes. Morton’s neuroma will feel as if you are standing on a pebble in the shoe or on a fold in the sock.
Morton’s neuroma involves the thickening of tissue around one of the nerves in the foot leading to the toes. This can cause sharp, burning pain radiating in the ball of the foot. You may feel a stinging, burning or numbing sensation in the affected toes.
Research has linked High-heeled and tight shoes to the development of Morton’s neuroma. Many patients experience relief from Morton’s Neuroma by switching to shoes with flatter heels and wider toe boxes. Sometimes patients may require Epidural Corticosteroid injections or surgery.
Symptoms of Morton’s Neuroma
Typically, patients can not see any outward sign of this condition, such as a lump. Instead, they may experience the following symptoms:
- Feeling like there’s a “pebble” in the shoe
- Burning pain in the ball of the foot that may then radiate into the toes
- Tingling and numbness in the toes
In addition to these symptoms, patients may find that removing the shoe and massaging the foot will help to relieve the pain.
Causes of Morton’s Neuroma
Physicians find that Morton’s neuroma tends to occur in response to irritation, pressure or injury to one of the nerves that lead to the toes.
Risk factors of Morton’s Neuroma
Factors that contribute to developing Morton’s neuroma include:
- Wearing High heels. High-heeled or tight shoes can place extra pressure on the toes nerves of the foot.
- Participating in certain sports. High-impact athletic activities such as jogging or running may cause repetitive trauma to the feet.
- Foot deformities. Patients with bunions, hammertoes, high arches or flat feet present a higher risk of developing Morton’s neuroma.
Treatment for Morton’s Neuroma
Treatment for Morton’s Neuroma will depend on the severity of the symptoms. The Foot and Ankle Specialist will likely attempt conservative treatments first.
Wearing shoes with adequate room across the ball of the foot and in the toe will help with Morton’s Neuroma. Arch supports and foot pads can fit inside a shoe and help reduce pressure on the nerve. Patients can purchase these over the counter, or the doctor may prescribe a custom-made shoe insert — molded to fit the exact contours of the patient’s foot.
Surgical and other procedures
If conservative treatments fail give relief, the doctor may suggest:
- Steroid Injections.
- Decompression surgery. In some cases, surgeons can relieve the pressure on the nerve by cutting nearby structures, such as the ligament that binds some of the bones in the foot.
- Removing the nerve. Eliminating Morton’s Neuroma may require surgical removal of the growth if other treatments fail to provide sufficient pain relief.