What is Morton’s Neuroma?

Morton’s neuroma is also known as plantar neuroma or intermetatarsal neuroma. It is a build-up of benign tissue in the nerves running between the long bones of the foot. It may occur as a result to irritation, injury, or pressure, such as from wearing tight-fitting shoes. Morton’s neuroma may also arise from other unidentified reasons.

Effects of Morton’s Neuroma

This procedure will provide relief from the forefoot’s numbness, tingling or cramping.

Candidates for Morton’s Neuroma

Ideal candidates for this procedure are those who experience burning pain in the ball of the foot that may radiate into the toes, or those who have tingling or numbness in the toes.

Your Consultation

Initially, the doctor will ask about your symptoms and inspect your foot. Since there is no visible sign of Morton’s neuroma, the doctor will attempt to find a palpable, tender mass. You may notice that there may be a “clicking” sensation between the bones of your foot. The doctor may request an X-ray of your foot to eliminate other foot problems.

The best time to visit your foot and ankle surgeon is early in the growth of symptoms. Premature diagnosis of a Morton’s neuroma significantly lessens the necessity for more invasive treatments and may prevent surgery.

The Morton’s Neuroma Procedure

Treatment of Morton’s neuroma depends on the gravity of the patient’s symptoms. The doctor will probably recommend testing conservative methods first but if pain is critical or persistent, or traditional approaches are not effective, you may need either corticosteroid injections or surgery.

Corticosteroid injections.Steroids are medications that decrease inflammation. An injection of a corticosteroid medication in the area of the neuroma may lessen pain. But an overuse of injected steroids can have side effects such as weight gain and high blood pressure. That is why patients only get a limited number of injections.

Surgery.Surgical extraction of the growth may be needed if other treatments fail to offer pain relief. Even if surgery is generally highly successful, doctors turn to surgery as a last resort because the procedure eliminates both the neuroma and the nerve, which can permanently numb the affected toes.

Recovery

To help ease the pain related with Morton’s neuroma and permit the nerve to heal, you should take anti-inflammatory medications, try ice massage, change your footwear and wear supports or pads (orthotic devices). Arch supports and foot pads fit inside your shoe and help moderate pressure on the nerve. Also, take some time off. For the next few weeks, minimize activities that subject your feet to high impact, such as jogging, aerobic exercise or dancing.

Risks

Chronic pain may advance when treatment is ineffective for patients with Morton’s neuroma. Post-operative complications, such as dysesthesias, are likely when surgery is performed to eliminate the neuroma. Probable complications subsequent to corticosteroid injections may consist of plantar fat pad necrosis and transient numbness of the toes.

FAQs

What causes Morton’s neuroma?

Morton’s neuroma takes place when two bones rub together and squeeze the nerve between them. Neuromas often develop between the bones leading to the third and fourth toes. Morton’s neuroma results in swelling, tenderness and pain. If the pain becomes serious, it may produce tingling, numbness and burning in the toes. This condition usually happens after standing or walking for a long period of time.

What are the symptoms of Morton’s neuroma?

Neuroma pain is described as a burning pain in the forefoot, or an aching or shooting pain in the forefoot. People with this condition usually say they feel like they want to take off their shoes and rub their foot. This pain may happen in the middle of a run or at the end of a long run. And the pain may be present even when waking if your shoes are relatively tight or if the neuroma is very large. A sensation of numbness is occasionally felt in addition to the pain or even before the pain turns up.

What are the treatments for Morton’s neuroma?

Changing footwear, resting your foot, and using arch supports or pads to help take pressure off the area are the common treatments for Morton’s neuroma. In various cases, your doctor may advise anti-inflammatory drugs, a cortisone injection or even surgery for this condition.

How can I prevent Morton’s neuroma?

Prevention of Morton’s neuroma is not always possible. But you probably minimize your risk by wearing comfortable shoes that have low heels, ample toe space and good arch support.