Morton’s neuroma is a benign (non-cancerous) enlargement of one of the nerves in your foot. The problem most commonly occurs between your third and fourth toes, but can occur elsewhere. Morton’s neuroma is a nuisance for 10% of the adult population, with females being affected 5 times more often.
The irritation is thought to be brought on by activities that require repeated or forceful back-bending of your toes, like dancing, walking, squatting, and running- particularly running on your forefoot, or on hard surfaces. Wearing high heels or shoes that are too tight can provoke your symptoms.
You may experience brief, intermittent episodes of sharp burning pain that are followed by a persistent dull ache begins near the ball of your foot and radiates into the toes. You may feel as though you are “walking on a marble.” Occasionally, numbness, tingling, or cramping may accompany your pain. You may find relief by removing your shoe and/ or gently massaging your foot. Be sure to tell us if your symptoms affect your entire foot, if you notice any weakness, or have pain that starts in your back and travels into your thigh and leg.
You should avoid wearing high-heeled narrow or unpadded shoes. If you are a “forefoot” runner, you may consider transitioning to a mid-foot strike. Your treatment will likely consist of wearing a specially designed felt pad to help take stress off of the irritated nerve. Most patients report relief by modifying their shoes and undergoing conservative therapies, like the ones provided in our office.