Do You Have Morton's Neuroma?

Sometimes patients will come into the office with pain or burning sensation in the ball of their foot traveling out to their toes, numbness in the ball of their foot or more often they will complain that it feels like they are walking on a pebble or it feels like their sock is bunched up under the ball of their foot.  These symptoms are commonly felt in patients with neuromas in their foot.  A neuroma is a painful enlargement or swelling and irritation to a nerve in your foot.  Most commonly, the nerves that are affected are those that run in between the long bones, or metatarsals, in your foot.  These nerves supply sensation to the sides of your toes.  Often the nerve that develops a neuroma is the one that runs between your 3rd and 4th metatarsals and supplies sensation to your 3rd and 4th toes.  This type of neuroma is called a Mortons neuroma, but this condition can affect any of the nerves in your foot.

A neuroma can be best diagnosed through a physical exam by your podiatrist where we can perform simple tests to recreate your symptoms and narrow down where your pain is coming from.  Neuromas are a soft tissue condition and therefore do not show up on x-rays , but X-rays can be useful for ruling out other conditions such as a stress fracture that may have similar symptoms and help identify any underlining bony issues contributing to your pain.

Treating neuromas is aimed at reducing the inflammation and pain to your foot and addressing any underlying conditions that are contributing to the formation of the neuroma.  Wearing the correct shoes is a great place to start as shoes that are too narrow or have a high heel can irritate the nerves.  A podiatrist can add padding to your insole or give you special inserts to help spread and offload the bones in the ball of your foot to reduce pain.  We may also prescribe anti inflammatory medicine or even recommend an injection to the affected area to reduce the inflammation and irritation of the nerve. While most neuromas respond to conservative care, surgical removal of the neuroma may be considered.

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