Morton's neuroma, also known as Morton's metatarsalgia or intermetatarsal neuroma, is a painful condition that affects the ball of the foot, typically between the third and fourth toes. It involves the thickening of the tissue around one of the nerves leading to the toes, usually the nerve that runs between the third and fourth metatarsal bones in the foot. This thickening of the nerve can lead to irritation, inflammation, and pain.
WHAT IS A MORTON'S NEUROMA?
Morton's neuroma is a painful condition that affects the foot, specifically the area between the third and fourth toes (most commonly) or the second and third toes. It involves a thickening of the tissue surrounding the nerves that run between the metatarsal heads.
The exact cause of Morton's neuroma is not fully understood, but it often occurs due to repetitive pressure, irritation, or trauma to the nerve in the area. This can result from factors such as wearing tight or ill-fitting shoes, high heels, or participating in activities that involve repetitive stress on the forefoot.
What are the symptoms of a Morton's Neuroma?
The symptoms of Morton's neuroma can vary in intensity and may include:
Pain: The most common symptom is pain, which is usually described as a sharp or burning sensation in the ball of the foot, particularly between the third and fourth toes. The pain can radiate to the nearby toes and sometimes even up the leg.
Tingling or Numbness: Some individuals may experience tingling or numbness in the toes affected by the neuroma. This sensation can extend into the nearby toes as well.
Feeling of a Lump: It might feel as if there's a small pebble or lump under the ball of the foot, especially when standing or walking. This sensation is due to the thickening of the nerve and the surrounding tissue.
Aggravation with Pressure: The pain and discomfort associated with Morton's neuroma often worsen when you wear tight or narrow shoes, or engage in activities that put pressure on the ball of the foot, such as walking, running, or standing for prolonged periods.
Relief with Rest: Resting the foot and removing shoes can often provide temporary relief from the pain and discomfort.
Difficulty Walking: As the condition progresses, the pain might make it uncomfortable or difficult to walk normally.
It's important to note that the symptoms of Morton's neuroma can mimic other foot conditions, such as stress fractures, metatarsal padatrophy, or other nerve-related problems. If you experience persistent foot pain or any of the symptoms mentioned above, it's recommended to consult a podiatrist for proper diagnosis and treatment. They can perform a thorough examination to accurately determine whether Morton's neuroma is the cause of your discomfort.
How can you treat a Morton's Neuroma?
The treatment for Morton's neuroma depends on the severity of the condition and the individual's specific symptoms.
Here are some of the best treatments that are commonly used:
Footwear Modification: Wearing shoes with a wider toe box and lower heels can help alleviate pressure on the affected area and reduce symptoms. Shoes that provide adequate support and cushioning can also help.
Orthotics and Inserts: Custom-made or over-the-counter orthotics can help redistribute pressure on the foot and provide support to the arch. Metatarsal pads, which are placed in the shoe, can help alleviate pressure on the neuroma and provide relief.
Padding: Padding the affected area with soft materials can help reduce pressure and friction on the nerve, providing some relief from pain.
Medications: Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen can help manage pain and reduce inflammation.
Corticosteroid Injections: A corticosteroid injection into the affected area can help reduce inflammation and provide temporary relief from pain. However, these injections should be used cautiously and in moderation, as repeated injections can have side effects.
Physical Therapy: A physical therapist can provide exercises to strengthen the muscles of the foot and improve its biomechanics. This can help alleviate pressure on the neuroma and improve overall foot function.
Surgical Intervention: If conservative treatments fail to provide relief and the pain is severe and persistent, surgical removal of the neuroma might be considered. The procedure involves removing the affected nerve tissue. However, this option is typically reserved for cases that do not respond to other treatments.
Sclerosing Injections: This is a newer treatment option where a solution is injected into the neuroma to cause the nerve tissue to scar and shrink. This can help alleviate symptoms without surgical removal.
The best treatment approach will depend on factors such as the individual's overall health, the severity of the neuroma, their lifestyle, and their response to conservative treatments. It's important to consult a podiatrist for an accurate diagnosis and personalised treatment recommendations. They can help determine the most appropriate course of action based on your specific situation.
THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MORTON'S NEUROMA?
GET BOOKED IN FOR A BIOMECHANICS APPOINTMENT
Our team will conduct a full assessment including medical history, foot & lower limb posture, strength & motion tests, gait assessment using pressure plate system, and treatment plan discussion. Following your assessment and review of your medical history, this appoint may suitable to diagnose an treat conditions in the list above.
For this appointment it is important to have the appropriate medical history as this will allow our podiatrists to identify and treat the problem more effectively. If you have any previous GP refferal notes, scans or test results please bring these with you.
You will need the following for your appointment:
A pair of shorts. A selection of footwear, 1 to 3 pairs of shoes (footwear you wear daily/ and or your sporting footwear).