What is a neuroma?
- Morton’s neuroma is a painful condition that affects the ball of your foot, most commonly the area between your third and fourth toes. Neuroma may feel as if you are standing on a pebble in your shoe or on a fold in your sock.
- Anything that causes compression or irritation of the nerve can lead to the development of a neuroma. One of the most common offenders is wearing shoes that have a tapered toe box or high-heeled shoes that cause the toes to be forced into the toe box. People with certain foot deformities, such as bunions, hammertoes, flatfeet or more flexible feet, are at higher risk for developing a neuroma. Other potential causes are activities that involve repetitive irritation to the ball of the foot, such as running or court sports. An injury or other type of trauma to the area may also lead to a neuroma.
- Tingling, burning or numbness
- A feeling that something is inside the ball of the foot
- A feeling that there is something in the shoe or a sock is bunched up
For mild to moderate neuromas, treatment options may include:
- Padding techniques provide support for the metatarsal arch, thereby lessening the pressure on the nerve and decreasing the compression when walking.
- Orthotic devices. Custom orthotic devices provided by a podiatrist provide the support needed to reduce pressure and compression on the nerve.
- Activity modifications. Activities that put repetitive pressure on the neuroma should be avoided until the condition improves.
- Shoe modifications. Wear shoes with a wide toe box and avoid narrow-toed shoes or shoes with high heels.
- Oral nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, may be recommended to reduce pain and inflammation.
- Injection therapy. Treatment may include injections of cortisone, local anesthetics or other agents.
When Is Surgery Needed?
- Surgery may be considered in patients who have not responded adequately to nonsurgical treatments. A podiatrist will determine the approach that is best for your condition. The length of the recovery period will vary depending on the procedure performed.