A Morton’s Neuroma is a benign and non-cancerous growth of the tissue that surrounds a nerve in your foot. It often affects the nerve that runs down between the third and fourth long bones of the foot (metatarsals), around the middle of the foot or towards the ball of the foot.
Why have I developed a neuroma?
Unfortunately, the medical research can’t give us a clear answer on the precise cause, but it is thought to be associated with increased pressure to the forefoot, with the nerve thickening/growth being a response to high loads or injury. This includes:
- Wearing high-heeled, pointed or cramped footwear regularly (including recreationally, like in soccer, skiing and rock-climbing)
- Foot and leg movement or posture problems, like flat feet or high arches
- Having other structural foot problems like claw toes and bunions
- Sustaining other injuries (trauma) to the feet
What does a neuroma feel like?
A telltale sign of a neuroma is the feeling that you’re walking on a (painful) pebble. Anytime the nerves are involved, you may experience numbness, pins and needles, burning and pain, both in the area of the neuroma and radiating to other areas of the foot too. Neuroma are often accompanied by swelling, which may put more pressure on the surrounding structures and result in further pain and discomfort.
A simple test to see if your foot pain could be a neuroma is to squeeze the foot from the sides (not from top and bottom). This pressure is likely to cause pain if you have a neuroma.
Can you fix it?
We offer both immediate options to help relieve the pain from walking on the neuroma, as well long-term solutions and referrals for surgery where appropriate.
A good baseline is to start with an ultrasound to understand the size of your neuroma, while also providing immediate pain relief while walking. We do this by using a special pad or orthotic to remove any pressure from the neuroma when you’re in your shoes.
Continuing with the treatment prescribed by your podiatrist, where we can see a reduction in the size of the neuroma with repeat ultrasounds, we’ll continue with this for as long as we see consistent improvement.
If your neuroma does not improve, we will refer you for a surgical consultation. Due to the invasive nature of surgery and the recovery period, we typically only go down this path where the initial measures have not produced results.