Morton’s neuroma is a condition of the foot in which the area around one of the nerves going to the toes gets thickened and inflamed, causing a sharp pain in the foot. It may feel as if you are walking on a small stone.
Does Morton’s Neuroma Cause Swelling?
Characteristically, there is no sign or symptom that can be seen or felt outwardly. Like, there is no lump or hardness etc. From the outside. However, you may experience signs and symptoms like-
- A sensation or feeling of standing on a small stone or a pebble
- The ball of your foot may feel as if burning. This burning sensation may radiate into the toes of your foot also
- There might be a tingling or numbness in your toes
- There is generally not a noticeable swelling on your foot from the outside, but the swelling is around the nerve from the inside.
Causes of Morton’s Neuroma
The general reason why Morton’s neuroma occurs is actually a response or a reaction to a persistent pressure, irritation or injury to one of the many nerves that go to the toes. Many times, high-heeled shoes and sandals are related to the irritation or injury to the toe nerve. Some other risk factors associated with Morton’s neuroma are-
Some Sports– some sports that put a repetitive pressure on the toe nerves may be responsible for Morton’s neuroma. Examples, running or jogging. Sports that involve use of very tight-fitting shoes, like skiing or rock-climbing, can also put an excess pressure on nerves leading to the toes, causing Morton’s neuroma
Certain Deformities Of The Foot– people having hammertoes, bunions, high-arched feet or flatfoot are more prone to developing Morton’s neuroma.
Diagnosis of Morton’s Neuroma
The doctor will conduct a thorough physical examination first. He will try to feel for a lump or a tender or painful spot, by pressing on your foot. He may also find a sensation of clicking between the bones of the feet.
He may ask you to take some tests, which may include-
Imaging Tests– Some of the imaging tests have proven to be more helpful in the diagnosis of Morton’s neuroma, when compared to others,
X –Rays– The doctor may ask you to take an x-ray of your foot so that he ca rule out other possible causes of the pain in your foot like a fracture
USG– USG or an ultrasound uses sound waves to create images of the internal structures. USGs are very good at showing soft tissue abnormalities like neuromas
MRI– an MRI or magnetic resonance imaging uses a magnetic field and radio waves to show the internal structures. This technique is also very good at showing soft tissue abnormalities. However, it is an expensive test and is used in people who have no other apparent symptoms suggestive of neuroma.
Treatment Of Morton’s Neuroma
The treatment of Morton’s neuroma differs from person to person. It also depends upon the severity of the condition. The broad approach of the treatment is either a conservative method or a surgical one. The doctors try to take a conservative path first to relieve you of your symptoms. This may include taking anti-inflammatory medicines, steroid injections for inflammation and pain relief, or using orthotics like padding and arch supports. If these methods do not provide the desired results, or in persons in whom these methods cannot be implemented, doctors recommend a surgery. The surgery involves two techniques- decompression or neurectomy.
Decompression involves cutting off neighboring structures to alleviate the pressure on the affected nerve, instead of cutting the affected nerve itself. Neurectomy involves cutting of the affected nerve segment, to provide a relief from the inflammation and pain.
Morton’s neuroma does not cause any apparent signs and symptoms like a lump or swelling. However, in this condition there is a swelling around the affected nerve of the foot from within.
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