By The Foot Care Aide | September 24, 2009
What is Morton’s Neuroma?
Morton’s neuroma is sometimes referred to as Morton’s metatarsalgia, because a true tumor is not believed to be present. The term neuroma is typically used to refer to a tumor. But, in this condition, a bundle of tissue fibers presses on nerve tissues. Basically, it is a pinched nerve.
What are the symptoms of Morton’s Neuroma?
The usual symptoms are numbness and/or pain in the second, third and/or fourth toes. A “pins and needles” feeling is sometimes present. Pain is worsened by wearing shoes, walking or running. Numbness often occurs after walking for several minutes.
A shooting pain may be felt between two adjacent toes. Burning is sometimes used to describe the sensation. Since nerves are involved, any of these descriptions could be accurate. The first or big toe is rarely involved. Neither is the pinky toe.
The pain can be duplicated by pressing the area of the transverse arch (near the front of the foot) between the thumb and forefinger. As there are other causes of pain in the toes and front of the foot, evaluation by a podiatrist is recommended. Other causes can include bursitis or arthritis.
What Causes Morton’s Neuroma?
Inflammation or enlargement of the ligaments can press on the nerves and cause the pain. Flat feet, which roll inward, cause excessive “pull” on the nerves.
Poorly designed shoes that squeeze the front of the feet, which includes a lot of women’s dress shoes, are a common cause of the problem. As with other foot problems, wearing comfortable, well-designed shoes, such as “Wellness” shoes, can prevent the symptoms and negate the need for further treatment.
How is Morton’s Neuroma treated?
Surgical correction may be necessary, but is usually chosen as a last resort. Since this is ultimately a pinched nerve, the solution is to stop the “pinching”.
As mentioned above, the correct shoes can make all of the difference. For people with flat or flatter than normal arches, a supportive insole can be the solution to the problem. Other shoe inserts that correct the improper “lean” can help, too.
For people who stand or walk for long periods of time, a forefoot pad with a metatarsal dome will help to distribute pressure more evenly, reducing the shock that can cause irritation and inflammation of the ligaments. The pads are available from FootSmart.com.
A good massage will relieve the pain and improve circulation. If you don’t have a masseuse, the VersaPro Thumper is almost as good.
The pain of Morton’s neuroma can be managed and reduced, with the proper treatment. Start by looking at your shoes and go from there.
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