Have you ever felt like there was a pebble in your shoe, or that your sock keeps bunching up under your foot? You may be experiencing the early stages of a neuroma. A neuroma is a thickening of nerve tissue that can be caused by injury or pressure, such as from running or wearing high heels. This most commonly occurs between the third and fourth metatarsal bones and is referred to as a Morton’s Neuroma, named after physician and professor Thomas George Morton of Pennsylvania.
The pain from a Morton’s Neuroma can range from a dull ache to a sharp shooting pain, but numbness and burning sensations have also been reported. The pain can often become unbearable after only a short time walking or standing. A Morton’s Neuroma generally has two main causes; ill fitting shoes and repetitive action sports. High heels, or even just shoes with a tapered or tight toe box have been linked to increased chances of neuroma. Sports that involve repetitive actions, such as soccer, tennis, or running have been linked to Morton’s Neuroma.
Diagnosis of the neuroma will include a physical examination of the foot where the doctor will often put pressure on the affected area to try and reproduce the symptoms. Sometimes your podiatrist will want to take an ultrasound of the area to confirm diagnosis, or even an X-ray to help rule out pain from a stress fracture. Early detection of a neuroma can greatly reduce healing time and help to avoid the necessity of surgical intervention.
Treatment of a Morton’s Neuroma can vary depending on when the problem is diagnosed. The use of orthotics inserts is common, often with additional padding added to the area beneath the neuroma to help keep the metatarsal bones separated, removing pressure from the nerves. It is also common practice to use corticosteroid injections to help relieve inflammation. Alcohol sclerosing injections are being used increasingly in medical practices due to their high rate of success in treatment of neuromas. The sclerosing injections are often administered via ultrasound guidance to assure optimal application.
If you think that you or a loved one may be suffering with the pain of a Morton’s Neuroma please contact your podiatrist as soon as possible to avoid unnecessary pain. The doctors and staff of Ankle & Foot Associates, LLC are highly familiar with the signs and symptoms of Morton’s Neuromas and are ready to help get their patients back on their feet and enjoying a happy, pain free life again.
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