What is Morton’s Neuroma?
A neuroma is a thickening or enlargement of nerve tissue, which is often caused by irritation or compression of the nerve. This type of neuroma usually occurs at the base of the third and fourth toes.
What are the symptoms of Morton’s Neuroma?
Sharp or dull pain between the third and fourth toes is usually felt. This can be made worse by wearing tight shoes and by walking. You may feel numbness, tingling, or a burning sensation around the area. Symptoms can come on very quickly or gradually over a period of time and tend to worsen.
What are the causes of Morton’s Neuroma?
There are a number of factors that can contribute to a neuroma being formed. Firstly, high heeled shoes with a constricted toe box can cause compression of the nerve. The condition is more common in women as a result of wearing such shoes. Conditions such as a high arch or a low arch foot or a hammer toe can lead to a neuroma. This is due to the instability of the structures around the toe. Sports which have a repetitive force on the front part of the foot (forefoot) can also cause a neuroma.
What should I do if I have Morton’s Neuroma?
An assessment with a podiatrist is recommended to diagnose the problem and find its cause. Questions regarding levels of pain and what activity worsens it will be asked. The enlarged nerve can sometimes be felt on the surface. Supportive footwear with enough width is advisable.
What shouldn’t I do if I have Morton’s Neuroma?
This condition worsens over time, continuing to wear unsuitable footwear will worsen the problem, as will partaking in sports that place significant stress on the forefoot. Treating any other problems that may be causing the neuroma is essential, for example a low arched foot may require an insole or orthotic.
Could there be any long term effects of Morton’s Neuroma?
Early conservative treatment is preferred for this condition, though if this isn’t possible, some people require surgical removal of the enlarged nerve.
Podiatry treatment for Morton’s Neuroma
The aim here is to reduce and relieve pressure around the nerve. This can be done in a number of ways, starting with wearing a flat, wide lace-up shoe. Orthotics are the next option and these are shoe inserts which help improve foot function and therefore reduce pressure around the nerve. Padding can be useful under the forefoot to provide comfort and relieve some pain.
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