What is Morton’s Neuroma?
Morton’s neuroma is a common foot problem where one of the nerves in the foot becomes inflamed and irritated. This pain is usually located between the bones at the ball of the foot and happens around the base of the 3rd and 4th toes.
What are the Symptoms of Morton’s Neuroma?
Morton’s Neuroma can cause a sharp ‘burning’ pain at the ball of the foot on the bottom at the affected area. This pain can radiate to the nearby toes and is usually increased when walking. Other symptoms may include numbness, tingling or lack of feeling in the foot. The foot is usually tender when the affected area is compressed. Symptoms are similar to metatarsalgia.
What Causes Morton’s Neuroma?
Compression of the nerve between the ends of the 3rd and 4th metatarsal bones at the base of the toes can cause Morton’s Neuroma. Often an abnormal function of the foot leads to this squeezing action. You may discover the symptoms during or after walking, standing or jumping when you have been putting pressure on the forefoot area. Footwear selection can also be a cause. High heels or pointed toed shoes cause you to force your foot into a very compressed area. This can pinch the nerve in the forefoot and cause pain.
How Do You Treat Morton’s Neuroma?
The first step in treating Morton’s Neuroma is to take a look at your footwear. You will want to look for shoes with a high and wide toe area to give you comfort. Orthotic arch supports can be designed to help with the pain. Arch supports or foot orthotic designed for the condition will generally have a metatarsal pad or neuroma pad behind the ball-of-the-foot. This helps relieve some of the pressure caused by the inflammation.
Shorter term solutions for pain relief may be resting the foot, anti-inflammation medications and applying ice. For persistent pain, your doctor may suggest a local cortisone injection or a surgical procedure to remove the swollen nerve tissue.
If injections or surgery are necessary, make sure something is done afterward to correct any alignment problems so the issue doesn’t return. Foot orthotic arch supports with metatarsal or neuroma pads are the best option to help prevent a re-occurrence of Morton’s Neuroma.
Custom orthotics, though very expensive, can be custom fit to deal with the symptoms of Morton’s Neuroma. If you are looking for much less expensive over the counter arch supports for ball-of-foot pain, make sure you find something that is specifically designed to help with forefoot pain. Most over the counter devices are not designed for this problem and are likely to be ineffective.