How do I know if I have Morton’s neuroma?
If you take a step and feel like there is a marble or rock wedged between the ball of your foot and your shoe, there is a good chance that you may have what is known as Morton’s neuroma. This painful condition is the result of the thickening of the tissue around one of the nerves in the foot, usually between the third and fourth toes. Symptoms may include:
- Tingling or stinging
- Pain, often sharp
- Sensation of “electric shock” radiating into the toes
- Feeling like there is a small lump inside the ball of the foot
Although the exact cause of Morton’s neuroma is not known, the consensus of healthcare professionals is that it is the result of the nerve being squeezed, compressed, stretched or damaged. Wearing tight, narrow-toed or high heel shoes is believed to be a major contributor to this condition due to the fact that the incidence is far greater in women than men. Other factors that have been linked to the development of this ailment are sporting or exercise activities that repeatedly place pressure on the ball of the foot, as well as issues such as bunions, high or fallen arches and hammer toes.
Metatarsalgia is the term used to describe the symptoms associated with this condition. Morton’s neuroma takes its name from Civil War surgeon and hospital administrator, Thomas George Morton. Besides being nationally recognized as the driving force behind the founding of several hospitals, including the Philadelphia Orthopaedic Hospital and the Infirmary for Nervous Diseases, Morton was an avid researcher and published many articles on various medical issues. In 1876, he published his findings on metatarsalgia, and it is for this that his name survives and is remembered with that shooting pain in the foot!
Treatment for Morton’s Neuroma
Hoping it will just go away is rarely the best choice when it comes to anything that affects your health and it is definitely not a good idea when dealing with a painful neuroma. That said, your healthcare professional, will start conservatively with suggestions for relieving the pressure on the area where the nerve is swollen. Making a different choice of shoes or possibly custom orthotics may help, as may special pads or devices designed to spread the toes to keep them from squeezing the nerve. Scaling back activities that aggravate the condition and icing the area to reduce the inflammation can also be helpful. If these aren’t successful, your doctor will discuss other procedures. Anti-inflammatory medications, cortisone or sclerosing alcohol injections, non-invasive shockwave treatments and even surgery are all options.
The best treatment will be determined based on your lifestyle and the unique needs of your feet, but the key to recovery is to seek experienced care before the problem becomes chronic—or even permanent. To learn more and get properly diagnosed, we invite you to visit the skilled podiatrists at Country Foot Care, where you will find individualized treatment plans and personal attention in a state-of-the-art facility.
To schedule an appointment at one of our Country Foot Care locations, Mineola or Williston Park, just call (516) 741-3338, or, if you prefer, use our online form by clicking here.