Morton’s neuroma is a forefoot condition affecting the ball of the foot. It can result in numbness, tingling or burning around the toes and webbing of the feet. Some patients even report what feels like a pebble or a stone in their footwear.
What causes Morton’s neuroma?
A Morton’s neuroma is a thickening of the sheath that sits around the nerves that fan out to each individual toe. This thickening is a direct result of the excessive force being applied to it, typically from a pinching between the bones in your feet which causes it to become inflamed. As this nerve becomes inflamed it becomes bigger in size, making it more likely to be “pinched”. This usually can be seen in the progression of symptoms beginning to occur from once a month to increase to once a week to once a day or even more as the nerve continues to increase in size from the inflammation. The use of narrow or poorly supporting footwear, “flat feet” or excessive “rolling in” (pronation) of the foot when walking can be the cause for this condition.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of Morton’s neuroma can range from sharp electric shock type of pain to a dull ache and can be consistent or transient in nature – meaning it can come and go. The pain can also be noticed both on top of the forefoot region along with the bottom in the ball of the foot region. Typically most people with Morton’s neuroma will experience the pain in a certain pair of shoes they own and report that going without shoes can often help reduce pain. However, going barefoot is certainly not recommended for this condition.
What is the treatment?
Some treatment options include the use of metatarsal domes to help open up the space that the neuroma occupies, limiting the aggravation of the neuroma by the surrounding structures and bones. Another option includes footwear changes to shoes with a wider toe-box. Orthotic therapy is another option as it will help prevent the “rolling in” that contributes to the third common digital nerve being aggravated by the metatarsals and deep transverse metatarsal ligament.
If left untreated surgery may be required if the neuroma becomes too large and painful to treat conservatively with the management options above. If you are experiencing any forefoot pain it is best to get this checked out by one of our expert podiatrists today.