What is Morton’s Neuroma?
Morton’s neuroma is one of the most common conditions that causes pain in the foot. It occurs when the nerves that reach out to the toes are squeezed between the bones and ligaments in the foot. When toes are squeezed together for too long or too often, the extra pressure on the nerves causes the surrounding tissue to become swollen and thicken. This can happen to several nerves in the foot, but most commonly affects the area between the third and fourth toes.
What Causes Morton’s Neuroma?
The largest contributor to this pain by far is ill-fitting or constrictive footwear. Both men and women wear shoes too tight and narrow for them, but high heels increase the pressure and constriction on the toes, which exacerbates the problem. Morton’s neuroma is more common in women mainly due to their footwear. Certain high-impact sports can contribute to Morton’s neuroma, when the feet and toes experience repeated trauma. Patients with existing deformities in the foot like bunions or high arches are also at risk for developing Morton’s neuroma.
What are the Symptoms?
Morton’s neuroma typically forms over time, and a patient may only notice small episodes of pain at first. Some patients have described feeling like there is a rock in their shoe stuck under ball of the foot. Others experience a painful burning sensation that spreads throughout the ball of the foot. Numbness or tingling in the ball of the foot can also indicate Morton’s neuroma, and you should always see a podiatrist in order to determine what exactly is causing you discomfort.
How is Morton’s Neuroma treated?
Morton’s neuroma will typically subside within a few weeks of wearing proper, supportive footwear and resting your feet. When choosing footwear it is important to select your appropriate size, but also pay attention to the style of shoe and how much room it allows for the ball of your foot and toes. Morton’s neuroma is a common issue and can usually be resolved without surgical treatment. In exceptional cases when other methods have not cured the pain or discomfort, a podiatrist may recommend a steroid injection or a surgery that involves cutting tendons in the foot to relieve pressure on the nerve.
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