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Morton's Neuroma

more about Morton's Neuroma

  • The bones at the ball of the foot (i.e., juncture of the toes) are called the metatarsals.  There are 5 metatarsals, one for each toe (phalange), on the underside of the foot.  When the nerves that travel between them are compressed, stretched, or trapped, Foot Pain and discomfort may occur.
  • This is called neuralgia -- defined as pain running along the path of on one or more nerves -- in this case, along the metatarsals.

  • Pressure from running or wearing tight shoes causes the metatarsal bones to angle inward, cramping each other and pinching the nerves.
  • The nerve most commonly compressed is the nerve between the third and fourth metatarsals (i.e., the small toes farthest away from the center of the body).

  • Pain -- sharp and burning pain underneath the toes, worse when wearing shoes
  • A feeling of walking on a pebble
  • Touching or applying pressure to the ball of the foot may cause pain.
  • There may be cramps, tingling, or numbness.

  • Examination of the foot and taking a history (sports and symptoms) are usually adequate.
  • Radiograph (X-Rays) may be done to rule out other causes.
  • In cases presenting severe pain or numbness, MRI (imaging using magnetic field energy) or nerve conduction studies (measures the electrical impulses of a nerve) may be needed.

  • Tight shoes
  • Sports that involve running (i.e., soccer, track)
  • Biomechanical abnormalities or imbalances of the foot, such as a pronated foot (bent abnormally) and hammer toes

  • Relieve pressure on the nerve --
    1. Wider shoes
    2. Arch support
    3. Rest between runs
  • Reduce Inflammation (swelling and irritation) --
    1. Anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin or Ibuprofen
    2. Steroids injected into the area of inflammation.
  • If the pain persists despite conservative treatments, surgery can be done to remove the neuroma (inflamed and trapped nerve).

  • Contact your physician if conservative remedies fail to bring relief.  The physician may refer you to a Podiatrist (foot specialist).

  • Bone spurs -- small bones that form in the muscle underneath the foot and cause pain
  • Fractures of the metatarsal bones
  • Arthritis -- rheumatoid or degenerative forms
  • Gout

more about Morton's Neuroma

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