Morton's neuroma

Morton's neuroma is a growth that develops on a nerve at the base of the toes. This benign (noncancerous) growth develops when a nerve becomes pinched between the toe joints, toe knuckles, and the shoe, and the constant irritation to the pinched nerve causes it to swell and grow.

Symptoms may include:

  • Pain
  • Numbness
  • Cramping

A burning sensation that spreads into the involved toes. A lump between the bases of the toes. Home treatment, such as rest, massage, and wearing roomy footwear or orthotic insoles may help relieve symptoms. In some cases cortiocosteriod injections may be prescribed; in severe cases, surgery may be needed. 


What are the symptoms of Morton's neuroma?

Morton's neuroma can cause a very painful burning or sharp pain in your foot that feels worse when you walk. It may feel like a small lump inside the ball of your foot. It is usually between the third and fourth toes, but it can also be between other toes.


How is Morton's neuroma diagnosed?

A doctor can usually diagnose a Morton's neuroma by doing a physical exam and asking about your symptoms. The doctor may also do an ultrasound, X-ray, or MRI to be sure.


How is Morton's neuroma treated?

The nerve swelling may go away with home care. For example, your doctor may advise you to wear shoes with plenty of room for your toes. The doctor also may suggest that you ice the sore spot and limit activities that put pressure on the nerve.

If these steps don't relieve your symptoms, your doctor may have you use special pads or devices that spread the toes. This can help keep them from squeezing the nerve. In some cases, you may get a steroid shot to reduce swelling and pain. If these treatments don't help, your doctor may suggest surgery.

Copyrighted material adapted with permission from Healthwise, Incorporated. This information does not replace the advice of a doctor.


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