Morton’s Neuroma is a painful condition that affects the ball of the foot, most commonly between the third and fourth toes. It involves the thickening of tissue surrounding a nerve leading to the toes. This condition can cause discomfort, tingling, numbness, or a sensation akin to standing on a pebble or having a fold in the sock.
Morton’s Neuroma generally occurs in the area between the third and fourth toes in the foot. There aren’t distinct types of Morton’s Neuroma, but it can vary in severity and presentation, often characterised by symptoms such as pain, tingling, or numbness in the ball of the foot.
Morton’s Neuroma is relatively common, with prevalence primarily in adults, particularly in women. It’s estimated to affect a significant portion of the population, causing discomfort and pain in the ball of the foot.
While the exact cause of Morton’s neuroma isn’t always clear, several factors can contribute to its development:
The symptoms of Morton’s neuroma typically manifest gradually over time and often affect the ball of the foot, particularly between the third and fourth toes. These symptoms may include:
Diagnosing Morton’s neuroma typically involves a combination of a physical examination, discussing symptoms, and sometimes additional tests to confirm the condition. Here’s what the diagnostic process generally involves:
Your orthopaedic specialist will ask about your symptoms, duration, and any factors that worsen or alleviate the discomfort. During the physical examination, the doctor will palpate the foot to feel for any lumps, tenderness, or thickening in the affected area.
The doctor might check for any physical abnormalities, such as bunions, flat feet, or high arches, that could contribute to the development of Morton’s neuroma.
While not always necessary, imaging studies like X-rays, ultrasound, or MRI scans might be recommended. These tests can help rule out other foot conditions and provide a clearer view of the affected area, confirming the presence of a neuroma and its size.
Nerve conduction studies or electromyography (EMG) are sometimes used to assess nerve function and rule out other nerve-related conditions.
Morton’s neuroma itself is not a dangerous or life-threatening condition. However, if left untreated or unmanaged, it can lead to certain complications and impact an individual’s quality of life. Some potential complications include:
Treatment for Morton’s neuroma aims to alleviate symptoms, reduce discomfort, and, in some cases, eliminate the condition. The choice of treatment depends on the severity of the symptoms and can include:
Wearing shoes with a wide toe box and low heels can help reduce pressure on the forefoot, providing more space for the toes.
Custom or over-the-counter shoe inserts and orthotic devices can help redistribute pressure on the foot and provide better support, reducing irritation on the affected nerve.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or naproxen can help alleviate pain and reduce inflammation associated with Morton’s neuroma.
Injecting corticosteroids into the affected area can help reduce inflammation and temporarily relieve pain. However, repeated injections can have side effects and are usually limited in their use.
Stretching exercises and ultrasound therapy may be recommended to improve the range of motion, strengthen foot muscles, and reduce discomfort.
Avoiding activities exacerbating the symptoms, such as high-impact sports or prolonged standing, can help manage discomfort.
If conservative treatments do not provide relief, surgery may be considered. The procedure involves removing the affected nerve or releasing pressure on the nerve. Surgical options can vary, and the specific approach will depend on the individual case and the severity of the neuroma.
Preventing Morton’s neuroma involves minimising factors that contribute to its development. While some risk factors, like foot structure, can’t be changed, certain measures can help reduce the likelihood of developing this condition or lessen its severity:
Living with Morton’s neuroma can be challenging, but there are ways to manage the condition and maintain a good quality of life:
Living with Morton’s neuroma can be challenging, but various treatment options and lifestyle adjustments can significantly alleviate discomfort and improve your quality of life. If you’re experiencing symptoms or suspect Morton’s neuroma, seeking professional help is crucial.
At The Orthopaedic Practice and Surgery Clinic, our experts specialise in diagnosing and treating conditions like Morton’s neuroma. We offer tailored treatment plans to address your needs and guide you towards relief.
Don’t let foot discomfort hinder your life. Take the first step towards managing Morton’s neuroma by requesting an appointment with our clinic today. Your journey towards comfort and improved foot health begins with a consultation. Contact us to start your path to relief and better foot health.