A Morton’s neuroma usually causes burning pain, numbness or tingling at the base of the third, fourth or second toes. Pain also can spread from the ball of the foot out to the tips of the toes. In some cases, there also is the sensation of a lump, a fold of sock or a “hot pebble” between the toes.
What Is It?
A Morton’s neuroma is a benign (noncancerous) swelling along a nerve in the foot that carries sensations from the toes. The reason the nerve starts to swell is unknown. But once swelling begins, the nearby bones and ligaments put pressure on the nerve, causing more irritation and inflammation. This produces burning pain, numbness, tingling and other abnormal sensations in the toes. A Morton’s neuroma also is called an interdigital neuroma, intermetatarsal neuroma or a forefoot neuroma.
A Morton’s neuroma usually develops between the third and fourth toes. Less commonly, it develops between the second and third toes. Other locations are rare. It also is rare for a Morton’s neuroma to develop in both feet at the same time. The condition is much more common in women than men, probably as a result of wearing high-heeled, narrow-toed shoes. This style of shoe tends to shift the bones of the feet into an abnormal position, which increases the risk that a neuroma will form. Imaging such as an ultrasound or MRI will diagnose the condition
Typically, the pain of a Morton’s neuroma is relieved temporarily by taking off your shoes, flexing your toes and rubbing your feet. Symptoms may be aggravated by standing for prolonged periods or by wearing high heels or shoes with a narrow toe box.
Treatment provided by Sole Therapy
If your Morton’s neuroma is painful, your Sole Therapy Podiatrist will usually begin treatment with conservative therapies, including:
- A switch to shoes with low heels, wide toes and good arch support
- Padding techniques, including metatarsal pads or toe crest pads
- Shoe inserts (orthotics) to help correct any mechanical imbalance in the foot
- Acupuncture and Dry Needling Techniques
- Anti-inflammatory medication, or corticosteroid injection under ultrasound.
- Injection Therapy with Glucose and Local Anaesthetic
- Referral to a surgeon will only be needed if all conservative therapies fail.