Morton's Neuroma

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      Morton's neuroma is a painful condition that affects the ball of your foot, most commonly the area between your third and fourth toes. Morton's neuroma may feel as if you are standing on a pebble in your shoe or on a fold in your sock.

      Morton's neuroma involves a thickening of the tissue around one of the nerves leading to your toes. This can cause a sharp, burning pain in the ball of your foot. Your toes also may sting, burn or feel numb.

      High-heeled shoes have been linked to the development of Morton's neuroma. Many people experience relief by switching to lower heeled shoes with wider toe boxes. Sometimes corticosteroid injections or surgery may be necessary.

      Symptoms

      Typically, there's no outward sign of this condition, such as a lump. Instead, you may experience the following symptoms:
      • A feeling as if you're standing on a pebble in your shoe
      • A burning pain in the ball of your foot that may radiate into your toes
      • Tingling or numbness in your toes

      Symptoms of this condition include sharp pain, burning, and even a lack of feeling in the affected area. Morton's Neuroma may also cause numbness, tingling, or cramping in the forefoot.

      Symptoms of Morton's Neuroma often occur during or after you have been placing significant pressure on the forefoot area, while walking, standing, jumping, or sprinting. This condition can also be caused by footwear selection. Footwear with pointed toes and/or high heels can often lead to a neuroma. Constricting shoes can pinch the nerve between the toes, causing discomfort and extreme pain.

      Causes

      Morton's neuroma seems to occur in response to irritation, pressure or injury to one of the nerves that lead to your toes.

      Also known as a perineural fibroma and intermetatarsal or interdigital neuroma, this condition results from excessive pressure to the nerve and the fibrous sheath surrounding it, which causes the nerve to become inflamed and enlarged.

      Squeezing the ball of the foot typically reproduces the symptomatic pain. Tenderness and numbness in the space between the third and fourth toes are also common symptoms of this condition.

      If you think you have a neuroma, get it treated sooner than later because it can enlarge over time if left untreated.

      Risk factors

      Factors that appear to contribute to Morton's neuroma include:

      • High heels. Wearing high-heeled shoes or shoes that are tight or ill fitting can place extra pressure on your toes and the ball of your foot.
      • Certain sports. Participating in high-impact athletic activities such as jogging or running may subject your feet to repetitive trauma. Sports that feature tight shoes, such as snow skiing or rock climbing, can put pressure on your toes.
      • Foot deformities. People who have bunions, hammertoes, high arches or flatfeet are at higher risk of developing Morton's neuroma.

      Treatment

      Neuromas are sometimes related to other conditions like diabetes, arthritis and thyroid conditions, but they most often are due to poor fitting shoes

      The first step in treating Morton's Neuroma is to select proper footwear. Footwear with a high and wide toe box (toe area) is ideal for treating and relieving the pain. Shoes that fit correctly in the width will help reduce the symptoms of Morton’s neuroma. Orthotic inserts can help, too.


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