Morton's neuroma is a non-cancerous growth on the nerve fibers of the ball of the foot.1 It is a painful condition usually develops in the third and fourth finger of the toe. It causes thickening and swelling of the nerve fibers due to pressure exerted by adjacent tissues on the nerve fibers. It causes sharp burning, shooting pain in the ball of the foot with numbness and tingling. It affects women more who wear high heels. It is often associated with bunions and hammer toes. It can lead to permanent damage in the nerve fibers if not treated properly.

Advertisement

Is Morton's Neuroma Permanent?

Is Morton's Neuroma Permanent?

Morton's neuroma improves well with conservative treatment. Simple padding or use of orthotics can eradicate the symptoms of the condition.1 However, shoe modification that includes avoidance of high heeled shoes or improperly fitted shoes can relieve the symptoms. 75-85% of cases of this condition improve completely after surgery.

However, surgical treatment of Morton's neuroma can relieve the pain but it leaves a permanent loss of sensation that is numbness in the affected area. There are also chances of the reappearance of the condition even after successful treatment. If it is not treated properly, there are chances that the symptoms of the nerve may become permanent.

Advertisement

Morton's neuroma is a thickening and swelling of nerve fibers in the foot. It usually develops in third or fourth toes. However, it can occur anywhere in the foot. It is also called intermetatarsal neuroma because of its location in between metatarsals roughly at the ball of the foot. The thickening of the nerve can be caused by compression or irritation of nerve fibers by adjacent tissues. This may cause permanent damage to the nerves. It is more commonly seen in middle-aged women.

Causes Of Morton's Neuroma

The main cause of neuroma is trauma or injury to the foot. The intensity of trauma can be minor or major. It can be of an acute or chronic type. Acute type of injury is caused by a slight twisting of feet while walking or stepping on something. A chronic injury is induced by repeated microtrauma to the nerve cells due to excessively flat foot. It can be caused by repetitive injuries in sports like running, racquet sports or skiing.

Advertisement

The onset of symptoms of neuroma happens sometime after the actual trauma. The foot may be injured two or more months before the formation of the neuroma.

However, the cause and symptoms are correlated. Type of shoes worn does not directly cause this condition but they can increase the intensity of its symptoms. Women who wear high heels are more likely to suffer from this condition. It can be associated with other abnormalities of the foot such as bunions or hammertoes or high arches.

Symptoms Of Morton's Neuroma

The symptoms of Morton’s neuroma are-

Pain-It causes pain that can be intermittent.2 The pain starts from the ball of the foot to the affected toes. The pain is more aggravated when the patient walks or attempts other activities using toes. The pain is sharp or shooting in nature that can compel the patient to remove the shoes. In some cases, pain is absent and the case is revealed accidentally in a regular checkup.

Swelling- slight swelling may be present on the nerve fibers of third or fourth digits of the foot. It can be in the size of a small grape. However, the swelling is absent in some cases.

Other Sensations- it feels like marble or a pebble present in the shoe. There is a feeling of numbness or tingling in the foot.

Conclusion

Morton's neuroma is a condition characterized by swelling and thickening of nerve cells of third or fourth digits of the foot. Its symptoms are located in the ball of foot radiating to the digits. It can cause damage to the nerve fibers permanent.

References:  

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: September 4, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

Advertisement

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

We'll help you live each day to the healthiest