The name may seem strange to us, but it is a common condition that affects a large part of the adult population. The Morton’s neuroma It consists of the thickening of the tissue around one of the conductive nerves of the toes. It often occurs between the third and fourth toes, and can cause severe pain, burning, and difficulty walking. Below, we discuss the causes, symptoms, and treatment of Morton’s neuroma in more detail. Keep reading and find out!
Morton’s neuroma: what is it and how does it develop
Also known as interdigital or plantar neuroma, this is a painful disease that affects the metatarsal (foot). Se produces from the inflammation of some of the nerves that are between the toes of the foot and that are responsible for providing sensitivity.
Usually this inflammation develops as a result of continued pressure. Therefore, among the main risk factors for Morton’s neuroma are habits or practices that increase the natural pressure we exert on the foot, especially in the anterior portion. For example:
- Wearing shoes with high heels, narrow or that compress the foot, increasing the pressure on the interdigital nerves.
- Poor foot support when exercising or walking.
- Trauma directly affecting the sole of the foot.
- Deformed toes (claw or hammer) and bunions.
Morton’s Neuroma Symptoms
Inflammation of the interdigital nerves leads to thickening of the tissue around them. Consequently, the person usually feels a sharp, electrical pain radiating to the toes. This pain is usually aggravated by wearing narrow shoes or high heels, and diminishes at night.
Other common symptoms of plantar neuroma include cramps and numbness or tingling in the toes (mostly in the space between the third and fourth toes).
On the other hand, external signs, such as redness of the skin or the appearance of lumps, rarely occur.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Morton’s Neuroma
When observing the aforementioned symptoms, you should go to a specialist doctor. To confirm the diagnosis, in addition to the clinical examination, it is common to request an ultrasound or nuclear magnetic resonance to observe the thickening of the interdigital nerves.
Once the diagnosis is confirmed, the treatment of Morton’s neuroma is oriented according to the evolution of each patient’s condition. Physical therapy and the use of appropriate shoes with custom insoles are often effective in reducing inflammation and controlling symptoms in most cases.
If necessary to accelerate the inflammation of the nerve to relieve symptoms, corticosteroid injections can be performed. Radiofrequency treatment (electrical neurolysis) may also be recommended to disrupt nerve function in the affected region.
Only in more advanced cases, when the above treatment options do not have the desired effects, or when the neuroma exceeds 8 mm in diameter, is surgery usually performed.