What does a Morton’s Neuroma feel like?
Does it feel like there is a ball squashed up between your toes when there isn’t? A pebble under the ball of your foot? Tingling or numbness in the toes? All these signs and symptoms may be linked to irritation of a nerve in your foot, officially called a “Morton’s Neuroma”. This scary sounding condition is typically caused by the thickening of tissue around the plantar nerve, where it travels between the 3rd and 4th toe, compressing the nerve. More rarely, it can occur between other toes.
What are the causes?
Symptoms such as those described above, will vary between people. Whilst the condition itself develops over time, the symptoms are typically aggravated by weight bearing on the involved foot, even for a short period of time. Sudden increase in stress or load on the foot may increase symptoms.
Common culprits for this stress may be shoes that are too tight across the width (therefore squashing the mid foot area) and/or too high (which put more load through the toes). People with changes to their foot posture (e.g. bunions/flat feet; hyper mobile feet) may be more predisposed to Morton’s neuroma.
How do I know if I have a Morton’s Neuroma?
Not all pain in this region of the foot is caused by a Morton’s Neuroma. Other conditions such as metatarsalgia (inflammation of the joint that connect the toe to the foot) or a bone stress-reaction could be alternative diagnosis. Seeing your physiotherapist if you have foot pain, is the best way to ensure you get an accurate diagnosis and help you address your pain. Your physiotherapist can perform an assessment, help you organise further investigation if needed, and provide treatment to improve your condition.
How Do I treat a Morton’s Neuroma?
Sometimes the obvious answer is the best one…simply offloading the stress and pressure to the forefoot can reduce your pain – if possible, try wearing footwear that doesn’t force all the toes heavily together. Failing that, certain types of orthotics (foot supports) can be trialed to support the arch and spread the toes – this can offload the building pressure.
If your condition does not improve and you have trialed appropriate conservative options, such as those detailed above, you may be referred to a specialist. Injections are used to reduce the irritation and surgery is a final resort.
Does a Morton’s Neuroma go away on its own? Can it be cured?
You will likely require some help in managing your symptoms. Physiotherapy can be beneficial in helping you address the mechanics that may contribute to the condition and to strengthen the muscles of the feet and lower limb.
Morton’s Neuroma exercises
You may need some exercises to help with your problem. Physiotherapists are experts in exercise prescription and can help you plan appropriate strategies to get you back on track.
At Sydney Physiotherapy solutions our physiotherapists are experts at managing foot conditions such as Morton’s Neuroma. If you are suffering from foot pain, an early diagnosis and appropriate management will help keep you on your feet.