If you feel like you have a rock or pebble in your shoe or sock, it may be due to Morton’s neuroma. This condition affects the ball of the foot and the area between your last two toes and can cause sharp, burning pain.
There are numerous conservative options that can be used to treat Morton’s neuroma. When those are not effective, however, surgery can provide the relief you need so you can get back to enjoying your favorite activities without pain.
Causes of Morton’s Neuroma
Morton’s neuroma is caused by pressure or irritation to the nerves in the ball of the foot that connect to the toes. The following factors can put you at risk for developing a Morton’s neuroma:
- Shoes. Wearing shoes with a high heel or that are too tight can put pressure on the balls of your feet or toes.
- Foot deformities. Deformities of the feet such as bunions, flat feet, or hammertoe can put you at a higher risk for the condition.
- Sports. Certain high-impact activities such as running can cause trauma to the feet and sports such as snow skiing can put added pressure on your toes due to the type of boots worn for the activity.
Diagnosis and Treatment Options
A doctor can diagnose Morton’s neuroma through a physical exam. During the exam, the doctor will press on areas of the foot to feel for tenderness or a lump that can indicate Morton’s neuroma. In addition, imaging tests such as an X-ray may be ordered to rule out other causes of the pain such as a fracture. An ultrasound or MRI may also be done to check for neuromas in the soft tissue of the foot that cannot be seen on other types of tests.
Conservative treatment is typically recommended to treat Morton’s neuroma. Options may include:
- Rest and ice. Resting the foot can often help relieve pain and ice can be applied over the bottom of the foot to reduce swelling.
- Medication. Anti-inflammatory medication can be used to help with pain and inflammation.
- Shoes. Changing your footwear to shoes with extra room in the toe bed can often help with the condition.
- Orthotics. Using orthotics inside the shoes can decrease pressure on the nerve causing pain in the ball of the foot.
- Self-massage. You can gently massage the area where you are having pain to help provide relief from your symptoms. Ice can be used as part of the massage.
- Injections. An injection of corticosteroid medication can be done to reduce inflammation and pain in the foot.
Surgery and Recovery
If conservative treatments do not help, surgery may be an option to consider. One type of surgery done for Morton’s neuroma is nerve decompression surgery. Dr. Williams can perform decompression surgery to take the pressure off the nerve causing the problem. He can also treat those who had prior foot surgery for Morton’s neuroma but still have chronic pain or pain that is worsening.
Another type of surgery that can be done is nerve removal. In this procedure, the neuroma is removed completely from the foot. This type of surgery comes with risks such as permanent loss of sensation or numbness in the toes.
After Morton’s neuroma surgery, expect your foot to be bandaged and numb. You should not have immediate pain since the foot will be numb, but once you do, pain medication may be prescribed.
You will want to keep your foot elevated as much as possible to help reduce swelling and avoid bearing weight on your foot until your doctor tells you to do so. You may need to wear a cast or boot to protect your foot. Recovery time varies from person to person, but can take several weeks to months.
Find Relief for Your Pain
If you have pain from Morton’s neuroma or are still experiencing pain after surgery, Dr. Williams can address your issues. He can determine the cause of your pain and develop a treatment plan based on your individual condition. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Williams in the Baltimore office, contact us at (410) 709-3868 or fill out our contact form online.