What is Morton's Neuroma?
Morton's neuroma is a nerve injury that affects the toes of the feet. Chronic injury to the nerve results in the thickening of the nerve—termed a neuroma. Pressure from nearby bone and ligaments of the foot puts pressure on the nerve leading to inflammation, pain, tingling sensations, and more swelling.
It typically affects the nerve between the third and fourth toes of the foot, though some patients may also experience Morton's neuroma between their second and third toes.
What Are the Causes of Morton's Neuroma?
Morton's neuroma arises for several different reasons, such as:
- regular wearing of high-heeled shoes
- shoes with narrow toe boxes
- abnormal positioning of toes for an extended period of time
- flat feet
- bunions and hammertoes
- high arches
- high impact sports
- forefoot trauma
- foot deformities
What Are the Symptoms of Morton's Neuroma?
Symptoms of Morton's neuroma include:
- pain, that worsens during walking
- numbness in the toes
- burning or tingling sensation felt in the ball of the foot
- leg cramps, if left untreated
What to Expect During Treatment for Morton's Neuroma at the Podiatrist
A thorough foot exam, as well as medical history and lifestyle evaluation, are key for the diagnosis of Morton's neuromas by your podiatrist. Tenderness, swelling, and pain between the third and fourth metatarsal bones of the toes all indicate Morton's neuroma. A clicking sensation, known as a Mulders' Click, observed during the exam is an important indication of a neuroma.
Treatment for Morton's neuromas can include both nonsurgical and surgical options such as:
- switching to comfortable shoes with wide toe boxes and flat heels
- anti-inflammatory medications
- custom-fitted orthotics and insert soles reduce pain and inflammation
- physical therapy
- cortisone injections to deal with pain and swelling
- sclerosing injections—used to permanently numb the neuroma
- surgical intervention—only used as a last resort and involves cutting the nerve or releasing it from the ligament