The word neuroma just means swelling of the nerve. The term “Morton’s neuroma” was named after Dr. Morton, as he was the first one to explain the condition.
Morton’s Neuroma specifically refers to the inflammation of the nerve between the 3rd and 4th metatarsals (long bone) in the foot. It is one of the most common places for nerve inflammation in the foot. The reason being that the nerve fibers running between the 3rd an 4th long bones are thicker than the rest of the intermetatarsal (long bones) nerves. Therefore they are more susceptible of getting inflamed.
Having pain in the 1st, 2nd or 4th intertermetatarsal space is less common, but happens nonetheless .
Interesting fact: Women are more likely to suffer from the pain than men.
Symptoms of Neuroma
- Pain could be similar to the feeling of having a pebble under the foot
- Sharp/burning pain
- Tingling or numbness
- Sometimes the pain can extend to the toes
Common causes of Neuroma
- High heels and pointy shoes - Wearing high heels or pointy shoes can cause more pressure in the forefoot, pinching the nerve
- Certain sports/activities - High impact sports with constant pressure on the ball of the foot, as well as sports that require narrow fitting shoes can squeeze the area
- Foot deformities - Bunions, hammertoes, flat feet, high arches can all put excessive pressure in the ball of the foot.
How can Chiropodists treat Neuroma?
- Icing - You can start by icing at home to reduce swelling and pain
- Padding – Our Chiropodists can help in offloading and spreading the bones apart by using temporary metatarsal pads
- Footwear modifications – Your shoes can be stretched if needed and professional advice would be given on proper footwear for your specific foot type
- Custom Orthotics – A detailed biomechanical assessment would be done by our Foot Specialists, who will then design a custom orthotic to fit your everyday shoes. This will help correct foot deformities and decompress the nerve with built-in metatarsal pads.
- Steroid Injection – Our Foot Specialists also provide Cortisone injection, which helps reduce inflammation and pain immensely.
- Alcohol sclerosing injection – For chronic cases, alcohol sclerosing injection is an option which involves “killing” of the nerve. Most cases result in complete resolution of the pain.
- Surgery – Neurectomy can be performed under local anaesthetic by our experienced Chiropodists – Foot Specialists