A neuroma is an enlarged, benign growth of nerves. It is a thickening of the tissue around the nerve and is sometimes referred to as a "pinched nerve." Morton's neuroma is a thickening of tissues around the nerve that leads to the toes. Morton's neuroma usually develops between the third and fourth toes.
Causes of Morton's Neuroma
- Biomechanical deformities, such as a flat foot or a high-arched foot
- Trauma that damages the nerve
- Wearing shoes, such as high-heeled shoes (especially those over two inches) and narrow-toed shoes, that put pressure on your toes by squeezing them
Symptoms of Morton's Neuroma
- Burning in the ball of your foot
- Numbness and tingling in the ball of your foot
- Pain in the forefoot or between the toes or pain in the ball of your foot when you place weight on it
- Sensation of thickness in the ball of the foot
Treatments for Morton's Neuroma
The following conservative treatments are considered and often offered first:
- Custom-made orthotics --NOPA offers more than 150 unique varieties
- Rest, massage, and ice packs provide temporary relief from pain
- Steroid injection therapy--corticosteroid medication typically reduces swelling and inflammation
- Wearing roomier, lower-heeled footwear and shoes with thick, shock-absorbent soles
If conservative treatments do not stop the pain, these treatments may be offered:
- Neuroplasty, a procedure in which a small incision is made to release the ligament between the metatarsals, thus relieving pressure on the nerve
- Sclerosing therapy, a procedure in which a weak alcohol solution is injected into the area with the goal of reducing the targeted nerve's ability to transmit pain signals
- Surgery to remove the nerve
Prevention of Morton's Neuroma
- The best way to prevent the aggravation of a neuroma that develops is to avoid wearing high-heeled or narrow-toed shoes and to wear roomy, comfortable shoes with adequate padding in the ball of the foot.
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