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. When this occurs, you may experience some discomfort as if you were standing on a pebble stuck in your shoe or it may feel like a marble underneath the ball of your foot. Usually the symptoms are numbness, especially when wearing shoes that is relieved when you take the shoes off and massage the foot.
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 or
repeatedly 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.
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.
Treatment for Morton’s neuroma will often vary, depending on the severity of a patient’s condition. In some cases, injections may be helpful for alleviating pain. 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.