What is Morton’s Neuroma?
Morton’s neuroma is a common and painful condition that affects the ball of the foot, typically occurring between the third and fourth toes (sometimes between the second and third toes). It is not a true neuroma or tumor, but rather a thickening of the tissue around the nerve leading to the toes.
What Causes Morton’s Neuroma?
Causes and Risk Factors: The exact cause of Morton’s neuroma is not fully understood, but it is often associated with:
- Footwear: Wearing tight, narrow, or high-heeled shoes that squeeze the toes together and increase pressure on the nerve.
- Foot Structure: Certain foot deformities, such as high arches or bunions, can contribute to the development of Morton’s neuroma.
- Repetitive Activities: Engaging in activities that put repetitive stress on the ball of the foot, such as running or jumping.
- Footwear with Minimal Cushioning: Shoes with thin soles or inadequate padding can increase pressure on the nerves.
Symptoms of Morton’s Neuroma
Symptoms: Individuals with Morton’s neuroma typically experience the following symptoms:
- Pain: Sharp or burning pain in the ball of the foot, often radiating to the toes.
- Numbness and Tingling: Numbness or tingling in the toes, especially between the affected toes.
- Worsening Pain with Activity: Pain may worsen during walking, running, or when wearing tight shoes.
- Feeling of Something in the Shoe: Some individuals may describe feeling as if there’s a pebble or fold in the sock under the ball of the foot.
Treatment for Morton’s Neuroma
Treatment: The treatment for Morton’s neuroma aims to relieve pain and reduce pressure on the affected nerve. Conservative treatments are often effective and may include:
- Changing Footwear: Wearing shoes with a wider toe box and lower heels can reduce pressure on the nerve.
- Orthotic Devices: Custom orthotics or shoe inserts can help correct foot mechanics and reduce nerve compression.
- Padding and Taping: Pads or tape placed around the affected area can help alleviate pressure and irritation.
- Medications: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be used to reduce pain and inflammation.
- Corticosteroid Injections: Injections of corticosteroids into the affected area can help reduce inflammation and pain.
- Rest and Activity Modification: Avoiding activities that worsen the symptoms can help promote healing.
If conservative treatments do not provide relief, or if the condition is severe, a healthcare professional may consider surgical options to remove the neuroma or release the pressure on the nerve.
It’s essential to seek medical advice if you suspect you have Morton’s neuroma or are experiencing persistent foot pain. A healthcare professional can properly diagnose the condition and recommend the most appropriate treatment plan for your individual case.
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