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  • Writer's pictureMy Family Podiatry

Morton’s Neuroma

Updated: Jul 16, 2023

Morton’s neuroma is a painful condition affecting the ball of the foot. It can result in altered sensations in the ball of the foot, often extending into the toes, with feelings of burning, tingling or even numbness being reported. Morton’s neuroma are more common in women than men and much more frequent in those wearing narrow high heels.

What is a Morton’s neuroma?

A Morton’s neuroma is caused by thickening of the tissue surrounding a nerve in the ball of the foot. This typically results from ongoing compression of the nerve and is most commonly found between the third and fourth digits. The thickening of this tissue leads to further pressure on the nerve when standing or wearing enclosed footwear, which can lead to neurological symptoms such as burning, tingling and numbness. Aside from a clinical diagnosis, an ultrasound can be used to examine the swelling of the nerve and confirm the diagnosis of a neuroma.

Cartoon image of a foot, bone structure shown with swollen Morton’s neuroma between third and fourth metatarsal
Thickened nerve or Mortons neuroma

What causes a Morton’s neuroma?

Morton’s neuromas are caused by increased pressure being applied to the nerve in the forefoot. This can result from:

  • Tight footwear that lead to increased compression of the forefoot. This includes narrow high heels that place more pressure on the ball of the foot.

  • Gait pathomechanics such as really high arches, flat feet and loading of the outside part of the forefoot with walking can all contribute to the development of a Morton’s neuroma.

  • Trauma to the forefoot such as landing heavily can be enough to irritate the nerve and lead to neuroma development.

Methods of treating a Morton’s neuroma

If you suspect you may have a Morton’s neuroma, there are a number of ways you can try and relieve this at home. These include:

  • Avoiding narrow footwear: Narrow shoes put more pressure on the forefoot which increases the compression of the nerve. By wearing shoes with a wider toe box, this pressure is reduced and the nerve can begin to settle.

  • Avoiding high heels: High heels increase the amount of force we apply to the front of the foot. Moving from stilettos to a smaller wedge will make your feet feel much better.

  • Wearing shoes with a cushioned forefoot: The less cushion in the forefoot, the more load will be applied directly to the bones under the front of your foot. A small amount of cushioning can be beneficial to distribute this force.

  • Contact My Family Podiatry: At My Family Podiatry, we will conduct a thorough assessment to identify the cause of the neuroma. A plan will then be developed and implemented to ensure you are back to walking pain free in no time.

If you or someone you know if suffering from forefoot pain, call My Family Podiatry on 07 3088 6116 or click through the link above to organise an appointment.

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