Summer Blog Series- Morton’s Neuroma
A neuroma is a growth or thickening in the nerve tissue due to compression or irritation of the nerve. While neuromas can develop in different parts of the body, they are most commonly found in the feet between the third and fourth metatarsal toes and called Morton’s Neuroma, or intermetatarsal neuromas. Populations who wear restrictive shoes, or have foot abnormalities such as bunions, hammertoes, flat feet, or more flexible feet, are at a higher risk of developing this type of nerve damage. If you suffer from Morton’s neuroma, you probably already know this by the instant relief from the burning and aching toe pain once you take off your shoes. That’s because the width of your shoes often aggravate an already irritated nerve.
Neuromas have a variety of symptoms that vary from pain to tingling, burning or numbness, and even feeling as if something is inside the ball of the foot. Symptoms often have a gradual onset, first only flaming up when wearing shoes with a tight toe box or while engaging in activities that stress the ball of the foot. Initially, symptoms can be relieved by removing a constricting shoe, massaging the tender area, and by avoiding aggravating activities. However, as time passes, symptoms will get progressively worse. If untreated, neuromas can lead to permanent nerve damage, so consult your podiatrist early about your neuroma.
Treatment and prevention vary. First thing first, make sure you have the proper shoes for your feet! Your podiatrist will first suggest using shoe inserts or special padding techniques to relieve the pressure from the affected area. Additionally, icing, using over the counter or custom made orthotics, modifying activities that aggravate the injury, taking NSAIDs, or even cortisone and local anesthetic injections can help. In more severe cases, surgery will be a viable option to remove the neuroma altogether.
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