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Morton's Neuroma refers to a swelling of a nerve. The nerve commonly affected is a small nerve that connects the 3rd and 4th toes, counting from the big toe. The patient will complain of pain in the sole of the foot.

Symptoms of Morton's Neuroma

  • Begins with numbness or tenderness in the foot, just behind the 3rd and 4th toes.
     
  • At a later stage, pain, numbness, burning and tingling sensations can radiate around the foot.
     
  • The symptoms may appear and disappear spontaneously.
     
  • Severe pain may be present at weight bearing.
     
  • The patient may experience spontaneous shooting pains, which is often referred to as an "electric shock". This can affect patients when are sleeping at night.


Causes of Morton's Neuroma

  • The pulling of the ligaments under the foot irritates the nerve.
     
  • High heels can damage the nerve.
     
  • A tight toe box will squeeze the toes in the foot and therefore put pressure on the nerve.
     
  • Mechanical problems with the feet such as "over pronation". Over pronation can be simply described as a condition, which causes your arches to flatten out when you stand up. This causes your ankles to roll in towards each other and disturbs your normal walking pattern. If a foot over pronates the structures of the foot are put under stress, which increases the likelihood of a neuroma occurring.
     
  • In some cases trauma can cause Morton's Neuroma, such as an ankle sprain.


Treatment of Morton's Neuroma

  • Initially changes in shoe gear can be effective such as wider shoes, lower heels and shoes with more support in the arch.
     
  • Cortisone injections are often beneficial.
     
  • Orthosis may work in some cases.
     
  • Sclerosing injections, where the nerve is killed, is often a long-term alternative when cortisone injections don't work. This can eliminate the need for surgery.
     
  • Surgery to remove the enlarged nerve is usually curative when other methods fail.