Morton’s Neuroma

What is a Morton’s Neuroma?

Morton’s neuroma are a common cause of forefoot pain.  It is a benign swelling of the nerve that travels to the toes and is most commonly found between the third and fourth toes.

What are the symptoms of a Morton’s Neuroma?

The symptoms are generally a combination of pain, numbness and tingling-

  • A burning or stabbing pain is felt under part of the ball of the foot and between the toes. 
  • Numbness and tingling may develop which radiates into the adjacent toes supplied by the nerve. 
  • Many people also feel as though they are walking on pebbles or have a small stone stuck in their shoe.

What are the causes of a Morton’s Neuroma?

There is not always a clear cause. It is generally thought that they are caused by repeated pressure from the ends of the metatarsal bones in the foot.  They are more common in people with other foot problems such as bunions, hammer toes, high arches and flat feet.  They are also more common in women.  Although they may not be caused by tight, narrow, high-heeled shoes this type of shoe wear does tend to exacerbate symptoms. Occasionally they are caused by direct trauma. 

How are Morton’s Neuroma diagnosed?

The diagnosis is generally fairly straightforward. A single consultation with a Consultant Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Surgeon and routine standing x-rays of the foot tend to be all that is required.  The X-rays are used to look for associated foot problems such as arthritis or signs of joint subluxation.  Sometimes the diagnosis is not clear-cut and further tests with ultrasound or MRI scanning may be necessary.

Can Morton’s Neuroma become worse?

For those who do not seek treatment the condition may become more painful over time.

How can Morton's Neuroma be treated?

Non-operative treatment

  • Initial treatment should include avoiding activities (e.g. long distance running) and shoe wear (narrow, high heeled shoes) that aggravate the condition.
  • Insoles and Morton’s Neuroma pads can be bought off the shelf or made to relieve symptoms but are not always successful.

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