M is for Mortons Neuroma

November 25, 2012

A Mortons neuroma is an enlarged or impinged nerves most commonly found between the third and fourth metatarsal heads.

How to deal with a Morton’s neuroma

Morton’s neuroma, also known as interdigital neuroma, is a painful condition that affects the foot, specifically the area between the third and fourth toes. It involves a thickening or enlargement of the nerve that runs between the metatarsal bones of the foot. Although it is called a neuroma, it is not a true tumor but rather a benign growth of nerve tissue.

The exact cause of Morton’s neuroma is not fully understood, but it is believed to result from irritation, compression, or repetitive trauma to the nerve. Factors that may contribute to its development include:

  1. Footwear: Wearing tight, narrow shoes or high heels that squeeze the toes together and place excessive pressure on the ball of the foot can increase the risk of developing Morton’s neuroma.
  2. Foot Structure: Certain foot deformities, such as high arches or flat feet, can put added stress on the nerves and increase the likelihood of neuroma formation.
  3. Foot Stress and Overuse: Activities that involve repetitive stress on the feet, such as running, jogging, or participating in high-impact sports, can contribute to the development of Morton’s neuroma.

The symptoms of Morton’s neuroma can vary but typically include:

  1. Pain: Individuals with Morton’s neuroma often experience sharp or burning pain in the ball of the foot, specifically between the third and fourth toes. The pain may radiate into the toes and worsen with walking or wearing tight shoes.
  2. Numbness or Tingling: Some people may also experience numbness, tingling, or a sensation of pins and needles in the affected area.
  3. Feeling of a Lump: Some individuals may describe a sensation of having a small pebble or lump in their shoe.

Diagnosing Morton’s neuroma typically involves a thorough clinical examination, medical history review, and sometimes imaging studies, such as an ultrasound or MRI, to rule out other conditions. During the examination, the healthcare provider may perform specific maneuvers to elicit pain or reproduce symptoms.

Treatment options for Morton’s neuroma include both conservative and surgical approaches, depending on the severity of symptoms and the individual’s response to conservative measures. Conservative treatments may include:

  1. Footwear Modifications: Wearing shoes with a wide toe box and low heels can help reduce pressure on the affected area.
  2. Orthotic Devices: Custom-made shoe inserts (orthotics) or arch supports can help alleviate pressure and provide better foot support.
  3. Medications: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or corticosteroid injections may be prescribed to reduce pain and inflammation.
  4. Padding or Taping: Padding the affected area or using special taping techniques can help reduce pressure on the neuroma.
  5. Physical Therapy: Exercises to strengthen the foot muscles and improve foot mechanics may be recommended.

If conservative measures fail to provide relief, surgical intervention may be considered. The surgical options for Morton’s neuroma include removing the neuroma or releasing the surrounding structures to relieve pressure on the nerve.


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