Morton's Neuroma

A neuroma is a benign tumor that occurs in nerve cells. A Morton’s neuroma, otherwise known as a Morton’s metatarsalgia, is a swollen, inflamed nerve between the bones at the ball of the foot. The most common location of a Morton’s neuroma is between the third and fourth toes.

It is the result of compression and irritation of the nerve, usually due to an adjacent bursa. This compression creates a painful enlargement of the nerve, eventually leading to permanent nerve damage. It tends to only affect one foot.

Causes

  • Biomechanical abnormalities, such as a high-arched foot or a flat foot. These foot types cause instability around the toe joints and lead to the formation of a neuroma.
  • Trauma can cause damage to the nerve, resulting in inflammation or swelling of the nerve.
  • Footwear that squeezes the toes together such as high heeled shoes or shoes with a narrow toe box.

Symptoms

  • Pain in the forefoot and between the toes.
  • A burning sensation on the bottom of the foot near the toes.
  • Tingling and numbness in the ball of the foot.
  • Swelling between the toes.
  • A sensation like a ‘bubble’ or ‘pebble’ in the foot.
  • Pain increases when walking or the ball of the foot is squeezed together.

Treatment

Early diagnosis of a Morton’s neuroma is important because early intervention can prevent the nerve damage becoming permanent, which will reduce the need for more invasive treatments including surgery.

At Ned Buckley Podiatry, our treatment of Morton’s Neuroma includes:

  • Conducting a biomechanical assessment to diagnose the condition. This may involve imaging.
  • Padding techniques to provide support and reduce pressure on the nerve to provide immediate pain relief.
  • Prescription of custom orthotics where appropriate.
  • Footwear advice.
  • Injection therapy where appropriate.
  • Surgical advice and referral.