All You Need to Know About Morton’s Neuroma
Morton’s Neuroma – it sounds serious enough — but what is it? What causes it? And how is it treated?
A neuroma is an enlarged nerve and Morton’s Neuroma is an enlarged nerve located in the interspace between the third and fourth toes. That area of the foot is particularly vulnerable because two nerves combine in that space and become larger in diameter than any of the other nerves going to other toes.
What causes this nerve enlargement? The leading cause seems to be compression on the nerve – compression and irritation. The condition is more common in women and it makes sense because many women wear shoes that force their toes into a very cramped toe space.
Other causes include activities that repeatedly irritate that part of the foot, such as basketball or jogging. We also see Morton’s Neuroma in patients who have other foot conditions, including flat feet, bunions, and hammertoes. An accident or injury to the foot can also cause the neuroma.
The symptoms of Morton’s Neuroma include:
- A feeling that something is in your shoe, sock or foot
- Tingling or numbness in the toes
- Burning sensation in the ball of the foot
The condition starts out slowly, with intermittent pain. Left untreated, Morton’s Neuroma results in permanent nerve damage to the foot. Early diagnosis is always best from a treatment standpoint.
How is this condition treated? It really depends on how advanced the neuroma is and the severity of the symptoms. Non-invasive/non-surgical solutions are always our first choice. These might include icing the area, wearing shoes that are wider in the toe area, refraining from repetitive sports activities, steroid injections, special padding techniques, custom biomechanical orthotics to reduce pressure on the nerve and medications to reduce inflammation and pain.
If a patient doesn’t respond well to the more conservative treatments, surgery may be indicated. The surgery is minimally invasive and can be performed right here in our SurgiCare center. Recovery time is minimal and you may walk on the surgical foot right away.
After surgery it is best for patients to focus on quality, supportive shoe gear and wear prescription orthotics to properly support the feet and optimize their mechanical function.
Please let us know if you have any of the symptoms of Morton’s Neuroma, so that we can conduct a thorough examination to arrive at a proper diagnosis.