Morton Neuroma commonly affects the nerve that travels between the third and fourth toes, causing a lot of thickening and pain.
Avoid ill-fitting shoes. Wear shoes with a wide toe box or flat heels.
The exact cause is unknown. Doctors believe the following may play a role in the development of this condition:
- Wearing tight shoes and high heels
- Abnormal positioning of toes
- Flat feet
- Forefoot problems, including bunions and hammer toes
- High foot arches
Morton neuroma is more common in women than in men.
Symptoms may include:
- Tingling in the space between the 3rd and 4th toes
- Toe cramping
- Sharp, shooting, or burning pain in the ball of the foot and sometimes toes
- Pain that increases when wearing tight shoes or pressing on the area
- Pain that gets worse over time
In rare cases, nerve pain occurs in the space between the 2nd and 3rd toes. This is not a common form of Morton neuroma, but symptoms and treatment are similar.
Your health care provider can usually diagnose this problem by examining your foot. Squeezing your forefoot or toes together bring on the symptoms.
A foot x-ray may be done to rule out bone problems. MRI or ultrasound can successfully diagnose the condition.
Nerve testing (electromyography) cannot diagnose Morton neuroma. But it may be used to rule out conditions that cause similar symptoms.
Blood tests may be done to check for inflammation-related conditions, including certain forms of arthritis.
Nonsurgical treatment is tried first. Your provider may recommend any of the following:
- Padding and taping the toe area
- Shoe inserts (orthotics)
- Changes to footwear, such as wearing shoes with wider toe boxes or flat heels
- Anti-inflammatory medicines taken by mouth or injected into the toe area
- Nerve blocking medicines injected into the toe area
- Other painkillers
- Physical therapy
Anti-inflammatories and painkillers are not recommended for long-term treatment.
In some cases, surgery is needed to remove the thickened tissue and inflamed nerve. This helps relieve pain and improve foot function. Numbness after surgery is permanent.
Nonsurgical treatment does not always improve symptoms. Surgery to remove the thickened tissue is successful in most cases.