Morton’s neuroma gives the feeling that a person in standing on a pebble in the shoe or a fold in the sock. It is a painful condition that causes sharp and burning pain in the ball of the foot. The ball of the foot is the area between the third and fourth toes. It appears because of thickening of the tissue near the nerves that lead to the toes. Along with the sharp pain in the foot, a stingy, burning or numb feeling in the toes can be felt as well. This condition is usually associated with high-heels, as many people felt relieved when they changed the high-heels with flat shoes. In some cases, corticosteroid injections or a surgery may be required to treat the condition called Morton’s neuroma.
Usually, there is no visible lump on the outward, but only the following symptoms can be felt:
- Feeling that the person is standing on a pebble
- Burning and sharp pain that may give off to the toes
- Numb feeling in the toes
It is recommendable to visit a doctor if there is a pain in the ball of the foot that doesn’t go away with days even after wearing flat shoes or modifying the activities.
Morton's neuroma seems to occur in response to irritation, pressure or injury to one of the nerves that lead to your toes.
Factors that can contribute for Morton’s neuroma to occur are:
- Wearing high-heels or tight shoes that make the pressure on the toes and the ball of the foot greater
- Some sports-athletic activities such as jogging and running can bring to repetitive trauma, or skiing and rock climbing for which tight shoes are needed can put extra pressure on the toes
- Deformities of the foot-bunions, hammertoes, high arches or flatfeet
The treatment of Morton’s neuroma will depend on the severity of the symptoms. The doctors usually suggest conservative-approach treatments at first, and if these kinds of treatments don’t give results, surgical and other procedures may be suggested.
- Therapy with arch supports and foot pads that reduce the pressure on the nerve
- Therapy with custom-made shoe insert that will fit the exact contours of the patient
- Steroid injections that in some cases can solve the problem with the pain
- Decompression surgery to relieve the pressure by cutting structures that are near the nerve
- Surgical removal of the nerve when other treatments fail to relieve the pain in the foot (side effect: although successful, the surgery may result in permanent numb feeling in the toes)
The following self-care measures can help relieve the pain:
- Take anti-inflammatory medications (nonsteroidal) that can relieve the pain
- Have an ice massage-put an ice package on the affected place and massage gently or go to professional massage salons
- Change the footwear-wear more comfortable shoes with greater depth and larger toe box
- Avoid high-heels-that can increase the risk of Morton’s neuroma and strengthen the pain even more
- Reduce activities such as jogging, running, dancing or aerobic exercises