The classic Morton’s Neuroma is a fibrous thickening of the nerve in the area of the 3rd and 4th toes.
Neuromas can occur in all age groups and are more common in females. Usually only one foot is affected but it can affect both feet.
What does a neuroma feel like?
A Morton’s Neuroma will usually cause pain in the front of the foot, especially around the 3rd and 4th toes. You may feel a sharp, stabbing pain, or just an odd feeling in the area. If you have a neuroma, you may find that the pain eases when you remove your shoe and massage the area.
What causes a neuroma?
It is not clearly known what causes a neuroma. However it is thought that the fibrous thickening could be the result of inflammation, caused by the nerve being pinched or irritated by the bones (metatarsals) on either side of the nerve.
Factors that can contribute to the development of a neuroma include wearing tight shoes and biomechanical problems such as flat feet. Foot injury or sprains can also cause a neuroma.
How are neuromas treated?
Diagnostic tests and clinical examination can be conducted to confirm if you have a neuroma.
Following diagnosis, conservative treatment may include:
- Advice on appropriate footwear (to limit irritation of the neuroma/nerve tissue)
- Orthotics (arch supports)
- Injections of local anesthetic and/or corticosteroids
Surgery to remove the neuroma is available if conservative treatment does not provide adequate relief of symptoms. However, early conservative treatment has a good success rate and should reduce the chance of needing surgery.
If a neuroma is not treated, it is possible that the neuroma could continue to grow and cause greater discomfort in the future so early intervention is recommended.