What Is Morton's Neuroma?
By Irving M. Luftig, BSC, DPM
May 21, 2020
Category: Foot Issues
A podiatrist can help you with a variety of conditions that affect the feet, including Morton’s neuroma. A neuroma is the thickening of nerve tissue in the body, with Morton's neuroma specifically happening in the ball of the foot. It’s caused by an irritation in the nerve between the third and fourth toes. Patients experience pain while walking, with a burning, tingling, or numbness.
Developing Morton’s Neuroma
There isn’t any known cause for Morton’s neuroma. There are a few factors that can increase your risk though. These include:
- Trauma or injury to the foot, damaging the nerve and resulting in swelling.
- Improper footwear, like shoes that squeeze the foot together. High heels also increase pressure on the vulnerable areas.
- Recurring stress to the feet through repeated physical activities or exercise. This is common with patients who are constantly on their feet due to their job.
- Deformities of the foot, like a high arch or flat foot. These lead to instability throughout the foot.
The most important thing that your podiatrist recommends is wearing comfortable shoes. You don’t want anything that squeezes or hurts. Always wear athletic shoes when engaging in any physical activity.
How to Treat Morton’s Neuroma at Home
Start by finding shoes that give your toes lots of room and are easily adjustable. The soles need to be shock-absorbent and thick. This keeps the pressure off the feet. You should also invest in shoe inserts or soles recommended by your podiatrist. Lastly, pay attention to your feet and their pain levels. When your Morton’s neuroma starts to act up, take a minute to rest. Take off your shoe and massage the area. An ice pack brings down the swelling too.
Talking to Your Podiatrist
You should schedule an appointment with your podiatrist as soon as you experience foot problems. Morton’s neuroma gets worse without treatment. Identifying the neuroma early on can prevent needing aggressive treatment options like surgery.
For early forms of Morton’s neuroma, changing your shoes is enough to relieve your symptoms. Your podiatrist’s goal for early treatment is to relieve pressure from the affected area. After going through a physical examination and having X-rays done, your podiatrist creates a treatment plan that works for you.
There are a few different options that can work for you:
- Taping and padding: This is a special type of tape and bandages that you place on the bottom of the foot. This helps with your symptoms.
- Orthotics: These are the custom shoes that your podiatrist can create for you.
- Medication: Cortisone injections reduce the pain and inflammation in the foot. Anti-inflammatory drugs also reduce your swelling.
- Surgery is the last resort for treatment. The procedure is done on an outpatient basis. The injured nerve is removed and recovery takes a few weeks.