What Is a Morton’s Neuroma?

Diagram of Morton's Neuroma

A Morton’s Neuroma is a thickened, damaged or irritated nerve between your toes. This can cause pain, discomfort or restriction in footwear and may require specialist treatment. A Morton’s neuroma is found between the third and fourth webbing space of the foot but neuromas can develop in other webbing spaces.

What are the symptoms of A Morton’s Neuroma?

A Morton’s Neuroma is often associated with the following symptoms:

  • Sharp or burning pain that radiates to the toes
  • Tingling or numbness in the toes
  • A sensation similar to walking on a pebble or a fold in your sock

What causes a Morton’s Neuroma?

The precise cause of a Morton’s Neuroma is not known, although it is often associated with specific types of footwear or other foot conditions, such as:

  • Wearing high heels, or other kinds of tight pointy footwear
  • Running or other foot-active sports
  • Foot conditions, such as
    • Flat Feet
    • High Arches
    • Hammertoes
    • Bunions

Can a Morton’s Neuroma get worse?

Painful symptoms can get worse over time, especially if you keep using footwear or undertaking activities that exacerbate these symptoms.

A Morton’s Neuroma will also not go away on its own. Symptoms may decrease if you use appropriate footwear and you modify the activities that aggravate the condition, but without these measures symptoms will return.

Diagnosing a Morton’s Neuroma

If you experience foot pain for more than a few days, it is advisable to see a podiatrist or other foot specialist who will be able to help diagnose the issue. For Morton’s Neuroma, this would typically involve:

  • A Physical Examination: Your podiatrist will examine the foot and apply pressure to the spaces between the toes and bones. This will help locate the source of pain. 
  • Medical Imaging: The diagnosis will be confirmed via medical imaging. Most often a Morton’s Neuroma can be seen via ultrasound scan, although in some cases an MRI may be requested to rule out other potential diagnoses. 

A diagnosis of Morton’s Neuroma may only require a physical examination. 

How is Morton’s Neuroma treated?

A Morton’s Neuroma can often be treated with simple conservative measures to alleviate symptoms. However, should conservative treatments fail, then injections or surgery may be recommended.

Conservative Treatment: 

  • Change Footwear – use shoes with wide toe boxes or less heel, to relieve pressure on the front of the foot
  • Painkillers – over-the-counter painkillers can be a helpful way to manage painful episodes, if used in moderation
  • Losing Weight – maintaining a healthy weight may reduce foot pressures and therefore help decrease symptoms
  • Orthotics – these can be inserted into your footwear to provide additional cushioning and redistribute pressure away from the symptomatic nerve

Injections:

  • Your specialist may use steroid or alcohol solution, alongside some local anesthetic to help reduce painful symptoms or local inflammation. This resolves the condition in around 50% of cases.

Surgery:

Surgery is reserved as a final treatment option in very severe cases when conservative measures have failed. There are two features to surgical treatment of neuroma:

  • Removal – usually of a section of nerve. This will mean that the space between the toes will be permanently numb.
  • Increase of Space – removing some of the surrounding tissue will give the nerve more room and reduce irritation.

Find out more about Morton’s Neuroma

If you would like to reserve an appointment with one of our podiatrists or talk to a member of our team, please don’t hesitate to get in touch:

T. – 0207 412 8882
E. – admin@podogo.com
A. – 27 Harley Street, London, W1G 9QP