Morton's NeuromaMorton's Neuroma is the swelling of nerve tissue in the forefoot, or ball-of-the-foot, which can cause severe pain. Swelling from Morton's Neuroma usually occurs between the third and fourth toes. A neuroma is also known as a benign growth that can occur in various areas of the body, although this condition is not cancerous.
There are several factors that contribute to Morton's Neuroma. A nerve can swell often due to flat feet since the low arch causes more pressure to be placed on the forefoot, irritating and compressing nerves. Also, shoes that have high heel also tend to place additional weight of the forefoot, infringing upon nerves in the metatarsal region. This is why women are more likely to develop Morton's Neuroma than men. Basically, a high heel transfers the body's weight and causes an unequal proportion to be delivered on the forefoot. Also, shoes that not only have high heels, but also tight toe boxes can also contribute to added strain and compression in the metatarsal area.
Symptoms associated with Morton's Neuroma are usually characterized by a dull aching or sharp pain localized in the forefoot, particularly in the area between the third and fourth toes. A burning feeling may also be present on the bottom of the foot. Pain can also radiate from the ball-of-the-foot to the toes as well. Pain usually decreases when weight is not being placed on the area.
Diagnosis for Morton's Neuroma can often involve an x-ray so that other conditions, such as fracture, can be ruled out. This imaging tool can also help to rule out pain related to rheumatoid arthritis as well. Another imaging device, an MRI, is can also be used to make sure compression in the forefoot is not caused by a tumor.
Initial treatment of Morton's Neuroma consists of minimizing weight from the forefoot to relieve pressure from the compressed nerve. One of the first treatment methods is changing shoes that do not fit properly or have heels that are too high. A proper fitting shoe will have enough room in the toe box to keep toes from bunching up together. The shoe must also be able to support the arch and heel while providing ample cushioning in the forefoot. A cortisone injection may also be a treatment option, but will only deliver temporary relief from pain.
When pain from Morton's Neuroma persists after changing ill-fitting shoes, other conservative treatment options may be considered. Sometimes other devices are needed in order to help reduce any mechanical abnormalities that may have developed. Orthotic shoe inserts are often needed to help reduce stress on the forefoot. Our proven treatments are capable of increasing support around the heel and arch which can be needed to relieve weight placed on the ball-of-the-foot so that pressure on the nerves is decreased.
In some cases these conservative treatment methods are not enough to relieve the symptoms of Morton's Neuroma. When this happens, surgery may be required to remove the neuroma. Surgical treatment usually involves making an incision in either the top part of the foot (dorsal) or the bottom portion of the foot (plantar). Like with any surgical procedures there are risks involved, especially considering that structures the physician will be maneuvering around can become damaged in the process and therefore may increase recovery time. Also, after the procedure the nerve stump remains and can grow back causing the possibility of reoccurrence.
In most cases the best approach to treating Morton's Neuroma is combining a properly fitting shoe with an orthotic device such as our medically proven heel pads and heel seats. These inserts are a simple, non-surgical treatment method which has had high success in treating various heel and foot pain conditions. Among our heel pad and heel seat users are physicians and NBA basketball stars such as John Starks and Jason Kidd.