Morton’s neuroma, also known as Morton’s metatarsalgia, is a relatively prevalent and very painful condition of the forefoot. It is caused by the inflammation of the plantar digital nerve and can occur between any of the metatarsals, though it is more often localized between the third and fourth metatarsals.
The exact reason why Morton’s neuroma occurs is still poorly understood. However, many factors can contribute to the onset of the condition, including wearing overly narrow shoes or shoes with flexible soles, as well as playing sports that put pressure on the foot. Women are much more prone to developing the condition than men.
Morton’s neuroma often causes swelling and pain, which can be particularly intense and which patients often describe as a burning sensation or electric shocks. The symptoms are even more unpleasant when standing. A diagnosis can be made during a clinical exam, but certain imaging tests may be prescribed to better localize the neuromas and rule out the presence of other conditions.
TREATING MORTON’S NEUROMA
The first corrective measures that are recommended are using orthotics and wearing shoes that limit compression on the foot. Cortisone injections may be effective for persistent pain. Surgery is necessary in approximately 40% of cases. The procedure, which involves decompressing the affected area and removing the neuroma, is performed under local anesthesia. Patients can start walking again immediately after the procedure and get back to doing all of their normal activities in the weeks that follow.