Conditions & Symptoms

Morton’s Neuromas

A Morton’s neuroma stems from having excess pressure on the nerves of your foot, usually from wearing shoes that are too tight. It is actually a small ball of nerve bundles that have formed a benign tumor on the ball of the foot, usually located in the web space between the third and fourth toes. It is painful, even though you can’t see anything on the outside and often feels as though you are standing on a small rock.

The pain of Morton’s neuroma is sharp in the area of the neuroma but you can also experience a burning pain near the ball of your foot. Your toes may also be affected by feeling numb or by burning.

Signs and Symptoms of a Morton’s Neuroma

There are usually no signs that you have the neuroma. The diagnosis based on the type and quality of pain you are experiencing. As mentioned, it may feel like there is a small rock in your shoe associated with burning in the ball of the foot that travels to your toes. Your toes may be numb or tingly because the nerve is affected.

Causes of a Morton’s Neuroma

Women tend to get this problem more often than men because they wear high heels that put pressure on the nerves traveling to the toes. Women tend to wear shoes that are too tight, which causes pinching of the nerves. You can also get a Morton’s neuroma if you are a jogger or runner and repeatedly strike your foot against the pavement. Any sport that involves wearing tight shoes like rock climbing or skiing can put extra pressure on the nerves. Those who already have foot problems like hammer toes, bunions, flat feet or high arches are at a greater risk of developing a Morton’s neuroma.

Diagnosing Morton’s Neuroma

The diagnosis can be made clinically by pushing on your foot, looking for a lump or tender area. Sometimes the doctor will use the back of a pencil and push the tissue between the toes, feeling for areas of tenderness.

Things like x-rays, ultrasound, and MRI scans can be used to diagnose the disorder. X-rays are used mostly to make sure there isn’t something else going on like a stress fracture of one of your metatarsal bones. An ultrasound can be used on the foot to highlight the actual neuroma within the tissues. MRI scans are also good tests for soft tissue problems. It uses a strong magnet and radio waves to give two and three dimensional images of the foot. This is an expensive test so it isn’t used much to diagnose a Morton’s neuroma. Often the physical examination is all that is necessary.

Treating a Morton’s Neuroma

The treatment of a Morton’s neuroma varies according to how severe your symptoms are. The doctor may prescribe supports for the arch of the foot or special pads you wear inside the shoe to take the pressure off the nerve. You will be asked not to wear high heels and should wear shoes that give the foot plenty of room. Custom made molds of the foot may be made to support the foot and to decrease pain.

If these things don’t help, the doctor may inject the neuroma with corticosteroids to relieve the inflammation surrounding the nerve bundle. The doctor can also do surgery to cut away tissue that is putting excess pressure on the neuroma. This spreads out the bones and keeps them from pushing on the neuroma. In severe cases, the neuroma can be cut out using surgery. This will relieve the pain but, because it involves cutting the nerve, there can be numbness of the toes that lasts indefinitely.

Other Foot Conditions & Symptoms

Ankle Sprains

Ankle Sprains

Most ankle sprains come from accidently inverting the foot. When you invert the foot, you twist the ankle inward, landing on the outside bone of the ankle. This causes tearing and stretching of the...

read more
Bunions

Bunions

The medical terms for bunions are hallux abducto valgus or just hallux valgus. It is a common foot problem, especially among women. It involves having a large bump on the inner aspect of the foot at...

read more
Cavus Foot

Cavus Foot

Having a cavus foot basically means you are a person with very high arches. Rather than putting pressure on the whole of the foot, the pressure of standing and walking is placed on the ball of the...

read more
Corns and Calluses

Corns and Calluses

Corns and calluses are thickened and hard areas of skin that happen when the skin protects itself against the pressure and friction of shoes or the ground. While they can look ugly, they are not...

read more
Diabetic Foot

Diabetic Foot

If you suffer from diabetes mellitus (type 1 or type 2), this means your blood sugar is too high over much of the time. High blood sugar can damage the blood vessels and nerves, starting with the...

read more
Flat Feet

Flat Feet

The medical term for “flat feet” is “pes planus” or sometimes we just call them “fallen arches. You are considered to have flat feet when the arches that give the foot its characteristic shape are...

read more
Heel Pain

Heel Pain

The heel is designed to take a lot of stress. It is padded with thick skin and fat so you can pound the pavement or do sports activities without pain. If you do these things to excess, however, you...

read more
Illiotibial Band Syndrome

Illiotibial Band Syndrome

Iliotibial Band Syndrome is also referred to as ITBS. It is a common overuse injury that runner’s incur by running too much. The syndrome happens when the ligament running from the outer portion of...

read more
Ingrown Nails

Ingrown Nails

Onychocryptosis is the technical term for an ingrown toenail, this is an often painful condition in which the nail grows so that it cuts into one or both sides of the nail bed. This condition has...

read more
Ingrown Toenails

Ingrown Toenails

The medical term for ingrown toenail is onychocryptosis. Ingrown toenails usually affect the great toe. Usually only one toe is affected but some people can have ingrown toenails on both feet. They...

read more
Knee Pain

Knee Pain

The knee joint takes a great deal of your weight when you are walking so it is especially prone to becoming painful or being injured. You can suffer from acute knee pain because of a car accident, a...

read more
Metatarsalgia

Metatarsalgia

Metatarsalgia is the general medical term for having inflammation and pain in the ball of the foot. It isn’t a disease in and of itself but is a symptom of other problems going on with the foot. The...

read more
Pigeon Toe Gait

Pigeon Toe Gait

A pigeon toe gait goes by many different medical names including intoeing, metatarsus adductus, metatarsus varus, and false club foot. These are all just fancy terms to describe a person who has...

read more
Scoliosis

Scoliosis

Scoliosis usually means you have curvature of the spine that goes in a lateral direction. The curvature is usually in the thoracic and lumbar spine and can lead to chronic back pain, an obvious...

read more
Shin Splints

Shin Splints

Shin splints are a common name for tibial stress syndrome, which results in pain in the shin bone or tibia of the lower leg. The tibia is the main bone that takes the stress of the lower leg when...

read more
Verrucas Plantar Warts

Verrucas Plantar Warts

Verruca (or plantar warts) are a contagious, viral, and usually painful wart on the sole of the foot. The Foot Practice sees many patients who are frustrated with the condition, having tried all...

read more