A neuroma is a thickening of nerve tissue that may develop in different areas around the body. At Foot & Ankle Clinics of Utah, we’re concerned with a specific neuroma known as Morton’s neuroma. It is the most common neuroma in the body and occurs on the nerve between the third and fourth toes.
Morton’s neuroma can be quite painful, akin to the feeling of having a pebble under your foot when walking, among other sensations.
What is Morton’s neuroma?
Any neuroma involves a thickening of the tissue around one of the nerves. In this case, the nerve leads to your third and fourth toes. This thickening is due to compression and irritation of the nerve. Over time, the compression creates enlargement of the nerve. If not addressed this can lead to permanent nerve damage.
What causes Morton’s neuroma?
Anything that causes compression or irritation of the nerve can lead to the development of a neuroma. For Morton’s neuroma, one of the most typical causes is wearing shoes with a tapered toe box or high-heeled shoes that cause the toes to be forced into the toe box.
Other potential causes involve repetitive irritation to the ball of the foot, which occurs with running or court sports such as tennis. Injuries to the foot in the area can cause Morton’s neuroma.
Is anyone more at risk for developing Morton’s neuroma?
People with certain food deformities — bunions, hammertoes, flatfeet, or overly flexible feet — are at risk for developing Morton’s neuroma. As mentioned above, wearing high heels or shoes with small toe boxes also elevate your risk of developing the condition.
What are the symptoms?
The nerve damage that is occurring due to the compression will show itself in one or more of these symptoms:
- Tingling, burning, or numbness
- A feeling that something is inside the ball of the foot
- A feeling that something is in your shoe or a sock is bunched up
How we treat Morton’s neuroma
At Foot & Ankle Clinics of Utah, we treat Morton’s neuroma at our five locations. Nonsurgical options are always the first course of treatment: padding to support the metatarsal arch, icing, orthotics, activity modification, shoe modifications, medication, and possible cortisone injections to ease the inflammation.
In some cases where the patient isn’t responding to conservative treatment surgery may be necessary. In these outpatient procedures, we remove the enlarged nerve to relieve the pain.
If you have pain under the ball of your foot, it could be Morton’s neuroma. Give us a call at any of our five locations in American Fork (801), 763-3885; Payson, (801) 765-1718; Springville (801) 491-3668; and Orem (two locations, (801) 226-2421 or (801) 765-1718.