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Morton’s Neuroma

Neuromas are characterized by thick nerve tissue, such as in the feet. A neuroma in the foot is referred to as a Morton’s neuroma, or an intermetatarsal neuroma because it is present where the third and fourth toes meet the foot, i.e. between the metatarsal bones. This is the most common type of neuroma affecting the foot, but neuromas may be present in other locations as well.

Causes of Morton’s Neuroma

The condition occurs as the nerve is compressed or irritated, such as when wearing shoes that cramp the toes. Repeated stress on the ball of the foot may be responsible for a Morton’s neuroma as well, while those who suffer from a collapsed arch, hammertoes, bunions, and other structural problems of the foot may also be prone to the condition.

Symptoms of Morton’s Neuroma

Possible symptoms of Morton’s neuroma include pain, tingling, or numbness in the affected area. Some feel like something is poking the foot or they may feel like something is bulging inside of the foot. Many experience mild symptoms that occur sporadically, such as while wearing shoes that cramp the toes or when running or engaged in other activities.

The condition may get worse with time, and symptoms may last for days or weeks at a time until the disfigurement to the nerve does not go away and the condition becomes more severe.

Diagnosis of Morton’s Neuroma

The physician will inquire about your medical history such as any current or previous foot deformities. They will talk about your symptoms, when they first appeared, and whether they have progressed since they first appeared. A physical examination may entail touching various areas of the foot. Visit a doctor upon first noticing symptoms, as early treatment is important to avoid surgery and prevent further complications.

Treatment of Morton’s Neuroma

The treatment method used will depend on the severity of symptoms and how far the condition has progressed. Initial treatment may include wearing orthotics or avoiding shoes that cramp the toes, and avoiding certain activities that put stress on the neuroma until healing occurs. Icing the area may reduce swelling, while some wear pads in the shoes to support the arch of the foot. Injection treatments may be used in some cases, while nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) may be used to reduce inflammation. If these treatments are unsuccessful or if the condition is severe, surgery may be required. Surgery may entail removing or releasing the problematic nerve.