Morton’s Neuroma is a type of painful condition that affects the ball section of the foot, which mostly develops in the area between 3rd and 4th toes. A Morton’s Neuroma is often compared to the sensation of standing on a pebble or fold in a sock. It is characterized by thickening of the tissue surrounding one of the nerves leading to the toes, leading to the experience of sharp and burning pains in the affected area and where the toes may also burn, sting or feel numb. Morton’s Neuroma often affects people who habitually wear high-heels and a good way to relieve symptoms is by shifting to low-heeled shoes that have wide toe boxes. The condition may also be managed with surgery or corticosteroid injections.
Symptoms of Morton’s Neuroma:Typically there are no outward signs of a Morton’s Neuroma, but the following symptoms may be noted.
- Numbness or tingling in the toes
- The feeling of standing on a pebble when in shoes
- A burning pain that affects the ball of the foot and radiates into the toes
If the pains last for more than a few days, it is best to have this professionally investigated by a doctor or podiatrist. This is especially so if there is a burning pain felt on the ball of the foot that does not improve with time, despite shifting to comfortable footwear and changing activities that cause foot stress.
Causes of Morton’s Neuroma:
Morton’s Neuroma usually occurs in response to pressure, irritation or injury to any of the nerves that lead to the toes. Some of the risk factors include wearing high heels; foot deformities like hammer toes, bunions, flat feet or high arches and high impact sporting activities.
Diagnosis of Morton’s Neuroma:
Pressing on the foot to locate a tender spot or a mass identifies Morton’s Neuroma. There might also be a sensation of “clicking” between bones of the foot. Some imaging tests that can be carried out for diagnosing Morton’s Neuroma, including ultrasound, X-rays and MRI scans.
Treatment for Morton’s Neuroma:
Non-surgical treatment of Morton’s Neuroma is attempted in the first instance, and may include footpads and arch supports. These can help to reduce the pressure felt on the nerves. Footpads and arch supports can either be bought over-the-counter or custom-made with the help of specialists. Individually designed shoe inserts that are molded to perfectly fit exact contours of the patient’s foot always yield better results.
If the above methods fail to produce the desired results, injections or decompression surgery may be recommended. In some instances, the surgeons can easily relieve the pressure on the nerve by simply cutting the nearby structures, like the ligament that effectively binds together the bones at the front of foot.