Morton’s Neuroma: What Is It, and What Do You Do for It?
Do you experience recurring pain at the bottom of your foot? Does it feel like you have a small rock stuck in your shoe while walking? These might be symptoms of Morton’s neuroma. So if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is essential to visit your healthcare provider as soon as possible.
According to the National Library of Medicine, Morton’s neuroma, also called an interdigital neuroma, is an inflammation of a nerve lying between the metatarsal bones of the foot. Even though Morton’s neuromas are classified as benign (non-cancerous) nerve tumors, they are actually thickenings of the tissues surrounding the nerves that lead to the toes.
Leaving Morton’s neuroma untreated may result in permanent nerve damage, resulting in difficulty walking, numbness, and a burning sensation in the feet.
You can manage Morton’s Neuroma at home with over-the-counter pain relievers. When your symptoms last for a long time or are severe, you may need medical assistance from a foot and ankle surgeon. Dr. Ivan Silva, however, can provide you with an accurate diagnosis and recommend the best course of treatment.
What Are Morton’s Neuroma Symptoms?
A common symptom of Morton’s neuroma is a sharp and burning pain in the ball of the foot, especially during activities like walking or running. Morton’s neuroma also causes a feeling of tingling and numbness in the foot. It is also common to feel like you are walking on a marble or have a small rock under your forefoot.
Morton’s neuroma symptoms might initially commence subtly. It might feel some minor pain that leaves quickly. However, the pain worsens as the inflammation on the affected nerve worsens.
What Causes Morton’s Neuromas?
Morton’s neuromas form when nerves between the toe bones become irritated and swell. It is unclear what exactly causes inflammation.
According to research, it may be caused by entrapment of the common digital plantar nerve, triggering swelling and causing abnormal tissue to grow in the surrounding area.
The following factors may increase your risk of developing Morton’s neuroma:
Wearing high heels or narrow pointed shoes.
Sporting activities such as running, tennis, or other racquet sports that require a lot of pressure on the balls of your feet
Performing physical labor which requires you to spend your day on your feet.
In addition, certain foot conditions can increase your risk of developing Morton’s neuroma, such as flat feet, hammertoes, high arch feet, bunions, or foot injuries.
Which Tests Do Healthcare Providers Use to Diagnose Morton’s Neuromas?
Healthcare providers have various tests to diagnose interdigital neuroma at their disposal. These tests include the following:
Physical Examination: Your doctor will perform a physical examination which includes an evaluation of the skin on your foot and ankle to determine if there are any painful pressure points. To pinpoint the exact location of pain, he will put pressure on the spaces between the toes. During the exam, he will also examine the feet and toes for common deformities that may cause forefoot pain. To determine if you have Morton’s neuroma, your doctor will measure the range of motion in your toes and joints. In addition, your doctor will squeeze your foot to check for a “Mulder’s click,” which is a click between your toes.
X-rays: Your healthcare provider may recommend you have an X-ray of your foot. The foot X-ray will not show a neuroma, but it can exclude arthritis and stress fractures as possible causes of foot pain.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): MRIs involve using a non-invasive medical imaging test that produces images of the body’s internal structure. Healthcare providers use MRI to visualize soft tissues in the foot. It can be used to reveal neuroma in people who show no symptoms.
Ultrasound: A provider may use an ultrasound to take pictures of your nerve and its surrounding area.
Electromyography procedure: This test aims to measure the electrical activity of your nerves and muscles. This test can rule out nerve conditions that may cause symptoms similar to Morton’s neuroma.
Nonsurgical Treatment Options for Interdigital Neuroma
Morton’s neuroma can be treated using both nonsurgical treatment and surgical treatment. The treatment your podiatrist would recommend depends on the severity of the condition. Nonsurgical treatment of Morton’s neuroma is a conservative approach to treating the condition. It includes the following treatment options:
Footwear changes: To treat interdigital neuroma, your podiatrist may recommend that you wear comfortable shoes, which means that you shouldn’t wear tight or high-heeled shoes. Instead, wear shoes with wide toe boxes and soft soles to allow your nerve to heal and reduce pain.
Orthoses: Orthotic devices and metatarsal pads, such as custom foot pads and shoe inserts, can keep your toes in the proper position. In this way, Morton’s neuroma symptoms can be reduced.
Corticosteroid injections: The use of corticosteroid injections can give you relief. These injections help by reducing the inflammation of your nerve.
Cold packs: Putting ice or cold packs on your foot can relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Wrap cold packs in a thin towel to avoid touching your skin directly.
Other treatments for Morton’s neuroma include anti-inflammatory drugs, alcohol injections, and local anesthetic injections.
Morton’s Neuroma Surgery Options
Surgery may be considered when nonsurgical treatment has failed to end the pain in your foot. Your podiatrist will explain to you the type of surgery you would need. The surgical treatment can be done via the dorsal or plantar approaches.
The kinds of surgery that may be recommended to treat Morton’s neuroma include:
- Neurectomy: A neurectomy is a surgery focused on removing the diseased portion of the nerve. This surgical procedure can lead to permanent numbness of the affected toes.
- Radiofrequency ablation: This surgical technique uses heat to destroy a small amount of the affected nerve tissue. The heat or radiofrequency current is sent through a needle placed on the nerve. This surgery stops the nerve from sending pain signals to the brain.
- Cryogenic neuroablation: Cryogenic neuroablation involves applying extreme cold temperatures to destroy nerve cells. This surgery helps to reduce sensitivity and inflammation of the nerve.
- Decompression surgery: A podiatrist may also relieve pressure on the nerve by cutting ligaments that bind some of the bones in the forefoot. This kind of surgery is referred to as decompression surgery.
Santo Domingo Podiatrist Dr. Ivan Silva Can Help
If you are experiencing symptoms of Morton’s neuroma, don’t hesitate to see Dr. Ivan Silva in Santo Domingo. You can trust Dr. Silva to help you manage your symptoms because he has the knowledge, experience, and resources to do so.
Over the course of his 25 years of practice, he has performed more than three thousand foot and ankle surgeries, and his patient list exceeds twelve thousand. He is also supported by a team of experienced nurses and assistants who work hard to ensure patients receive the highest level of care.
Whether you need cosmetic foot surgery or treatment for Morton’s neuroma and other foot conditions, contact Dr. Ivan Silva. Book an appointment today.