What is a Morton's Neuroma?neuromas

A Morton’s neuroma may develop when one of the nerves in the ball of your foot becomes thick and enlarged, usually between the third and fourth toes.  Neuromas can occur anywhere you have nerves, so they are not always inbetween the third and fourth toes. 

 

What are the symptoms of a Morton's Neuroma?

Most people describe a funny feeling in the ball of the foot as though they are standing on a marble, or have numbness in the ball of the foot, especially when wearing high heels or narrow shoes.  The sensation improves when the shoe is removed and the foot is massaged.  The pain or numb sensation is absent when walking barefoot, unless the nerve is very large, and then the sensation can be constant.  

What causes a Morton's Neuroma?

 

Some factors that contribute to the formation of Morton’s neuroma include wearing high heels or ill-fitting shoes that put extra pressure on your toes or the balls of your feet.  Standing on tiptoes for extended periods of time orrepeatedly getting up on your tiptoes can cause or aggravate the neuroma.  Kneeling for extended periods of time with your toes bent can also contribute.   There has also been a tie to the development of Morton’s neuroma and certain high-impact sporting activities. Too much repetitive trauma can cause a strain on the feet and increase the chances of developing a foot complication. Other sports that require the use of tightly worn shoes, such as skiing or rock climbing, may also increase your chances of getting Morton’s neuroma. Certain foot deformities can also lead to the development of Morton’s neuroma. Some of these deformities that increase the likelihood of getting this condition include bunions, hammertoes, and flat feet.

How is a Morton's Neuroma diagnosed?

It is important to have your foot evaluated if you think you have a neuroma, because other conditions can mimic neuromas, such as a torn plantar plate, a stress fracture of a metatarsal, capsulitis or bursitis, or foot strain/sprain.  We take x-rays to rule out fractures and can use an ultrasound or MRI to determine the size and extent of the problem.  

What is the treatment for Morton's Neuroma?

Treatment for Morton’s neuroma will often vary, depending on the severity of a patient’s condition.  Switching to wide shoes and avoiding high heels often can relieve the pain, as well as avoiding getting up on tiptoes.  Often people who participate in activities such as yoga and pilates, which puts the feet in unusual positions, such as up on their toes repeatedly can cause the neuroma to occur or become inflamed, so avoiding these positions can be part of the treatment. In some cases, injections may be helpful for alleviating pain.  Custom orthotics with padding can often relieve the symptoms of a Morton's neuroma.  We have an MLS laser in our office that can decrease the inflammation and pain of the neuroma and help prevent surgery.  Another form of treatment is decompression surgery, where we surgically alleviate the pressure on the nerve. In more severe cases, full removal of the neuroma would be required.

If you’d like more information about Morton’s neuroma, call our office for a proper diagnosis and recommended treatment plan.