Your browser is not supported. Please upgrade to a modern browser in order to use all the features of the UKHC web application: Firefox | Chrome | Microsoft Edge
Skip to main content
close menu
close menu

Search UK HealthCare

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, may help relieve symptoms. In severe cases, surgery may be needed.

  • Symptoms

    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.

  • Diagnosis

    How is Morton's neuroma diagnosed?

    A doctor can usually identify Morton's neuroma during a physical exam. He or she will squeeze or press on the bottom of your foot or squeeze your toes together to see if it hurts. Your doctor may also order an X-ray of your foot to make sure nothing else is causing the pain.

  • Treatment

    How is Morton's neuroma treated?

    You may be able to treat Morton's neuroma at home:

    • Avoid wearing tight, pointy, or high-heeled shoes. Choose well-fitted shoes with plenty of room for your toes.
    • Put ice or a cold pack on the area for 10 to 15 minutes at a time. Put a thin cloth between the ice and your skin.
    • Take anti-inflammatory medicines to reduce pain and swelling. These include ibuprofen (such as Advil or Motrin) and naproxen (such as Aleve).
    • Rest your feet when you can. Reduce activities that put pressure on the toes, such as racquet sports or running.
    • Try massaging your foot to relax the muscles around the nerve.

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


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