Do you sometimes feel like you are walking on a marble? Do you have pain in the ball or front of your foot? You could have a Morton’s Neuroma. Also known as an interdigital or plantar neuroma, a Morton’s Neuroma is a thickening of the tissue that surrounds the nerve leading to the toes. The thickening can cause various levels of pain in the front of your foot and can affect your ability to perform certain activities.
Morton’s Neuroma most commonly occurs in the area between the third and fourth toes and is usually caused by irritation, trauma, or excessive pressure of the common digital plantar nerves in this area. Morton’s Neuroma can also occur between the second and third toe, however this is much less common.
So what does a Morton’s Neuroma feel like? The most common symptom is a sharp pain or persistent burning in the ball of the foot between the third and fourth toes. Sometimes pain can refer into the toes, especially during weight bearing exercises such as walking or running. People often report the sensation of having a pebble or marble on the bottom of the foot when walking. There can also be numbness or a sensation of pins and needles in the toes. Usually there is no night pain or observational signs, such as a lump or skin discolouration related to a Morton’s Neuroma. Shoes that increase the pressure on the front of the foot, such as high heels, and tight and narrow shoes, can aggravate the condition.
Treatment for a Morton’s Neuroma includes:
- Changing footwear. Opting for wider, padded shoes over high heeled, narrow and tight shoes allows the bones in the foot to spread out. This is especially important for longer distance walks. Changing to more appropriate footwear will reduce the pressure on the irritated nerve, and therefore reduce pain and allow for healing.
- A biomechanical assessment of daily activities such as walking, running or other aggravating activities will demonstrate how the load is placed through the lower limb and therefore possibly causes of the neuroma. Strengthening and mobility exercises may be prescribed to address these issues.
- Orthotics can relieve symptoms by altering the location of forces placed on the front of the foot which in turn reduces the pressure on the irritated nerve.
- In more severe cases, corticosteroid injections can reduce the swelling and inflammation around the nerve and provide symptom relief. Surgery may also be considered if previous non-invasive techniques have not provided satisfactory outcomes.
If you’re having trouble with foot pain, book an assessment with one of our experienced Physiotherapists at Bend + Mend here in Sydney’s Martin Place.