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McDowell Podiatry
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Morton’s Neuroma: A Pain in the Foot

If you have something stuck in your shoe, like a rolled up sock or a marble, it can be very annoying to walk any further without getting it out. Imagine having a permanent rock stuck in your shoe—now that would make you quite cantankerous and cranky. This is what people experience with Morton’s neuroma.

Stepping on Marbles with Morton's NeuromaThe Definition of this Frustrating Condition

A Morton’s neuroma is a benign nerve tumor that usually shows up between the third and fourth toes in your foot. It’s not really a tumor: it’s a thickening of tissue surrounding the nerve that goes to your toes. This condition often develops from pressure, irritation, or trauma to the nerves at the base of the toe.  

Do I Have It?

You might notice a thick, swollen area around your third and fourth toes if you have a neuroma. This is often accompanied by a burning pain in the ball of your foot or tingling and numbness in the toes when you put weight on them. The symptoms usually get worse during activity. For example, you might feel the pain when you push off for the first stride on your run. Watch out for those telltale signs and try to take some pressure off of the problem by reducing your running routine.

What Did I Do To Get It?

Researchers say there isn’t an exact cause of Morton’s neuroma, but they have pinpointed a few reasons why you might get it. If you have flat feet, high arches, bunions, hammertoes, or wear tight shoes, you’re at risk for developing this condition. Women also experience the problem more than men.

Get Help for Numbness, Tingling, and Pain

The first thing you can do is change your shoes. High heels can push the weight to the bottom of your foot and put more pressure on the nerves in the forefoot. Tight shoes can push the bones together in your foot and pinch the nerves. Make sure you find shoes with a larger toe box, a lower heel, and a softer sole. You can also try home treatments like icing and stretching. The ice will reduce the pain and swelling, while stretching will keep the foot flexible and warmed up. You can also rest and massage the area to relieve some pressure.

At the McDowell Podiatry group, we specialize in nerve pain. That’s why we have an entire neuropathy center devoted to treating this type of discomfort. During your appointment, we’ll examine the area and determine the cause of your neuroma. We might ask to take X-rays of your foot so we can better diagnose your pain.

Orthotics are one way to relieve symptoms. We can design a pair for you and also recommend pre-formed types that will redistribute the pressure your foot is placing on the area. These might relieve some or all of your pain, depending on how far your symptoms have progressed.

If your pain is too persistent, we might talk with you about peripheral nerve decompression surgery. We will only recommend this procedure if it is absolutely necessary and if all other conservative treatments have failed. Dr. Brian McDowell has seen many nerve pain cases and has more than 35 years of experience in podiatry, so you can trust his recommendations.

Don’t let Morton’s neuroma get on your nerves. Schedule a time to meet with Dr. Brian McDowell at the McDowell Podiatry Group in Carmichael, CA. To reach us, call (916) 961-3434 or make an appointment on our website. If you want more helpful advice, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!

Photo Credit: Anthony Poynton

Dr. Brian McDowell
Dr. Brian McDowell, board-certified podiatrist, provides cutting-edge foot and ankle care in Carmichael, CA.