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What Is Morton's Neuroma?

6 July 2015

Morton’s Neuroma, also known as Morton’s Metatatsalgia or Interdigital Neuroma, is a condition that affects the nerves between the toes.

Most commonly affecting the recess between the third and fourth toes – though also occurring between the second and third – this irritation leads to the nerve thickening and enlarging, resulting in a compression of the nerve as a whole.

Morton’s Neuroma can result in either an unusual numbness of the toes or a discomfort in the ball of the foot, eventually becoming a sharp, stabbing or burning pain.

Who is Morton and Why Do I Have His Neuroma?

The exact cause of Morton’s Neuroma is unknown and sufferers come from every walk of life regardless of lifestyle, activities or if they are even named Morton.

Stress and pressure on the area is considered a common cause of the condition, often brought about by ill-fitting shoes such as heels and tightly worn fashionable styles that put fashion before the happy functioning of your feet. Pre-existing conditions such as high arches or Flat Feet can also make you vulnerable to developing the condition. 

But every cloud has a silver lining and staying off the affected area is a recommended means of treatment for the early signs of Morton's Neuroma. Taking part in running or high-impact sports will only worsen your symptoms, as with any activity that means balancing your body mass on an injured area, show a little respect to your poorly feet and put them up for a few days.

How Do I Know If I Have Morton's Neuroma?

Morton’s Neuroma will make itself known through several ways — it may give you the sensation of having a stone in your shoe or a ‘pins and needles’ feeling passing throughout the foot. Numbness or a stabbing pain in the toes and ball of the foot can also suggest the presence of this condition and it is not uncommon for these symptoms to come and go as they please.

Pain and discomfort caused by Morton’s Neuroma will often be considerably worse when walking on the affected area or wearing shoes which apply pressure to it. Left untreated, such pain can become much more constant and much worse, and without giving the nerve time to heal and recover, the damage can become permanent.

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Symptoms of Morton’s Neuroma:

  • Numbness 
  • A sharp, stabbing pain
  • An “electric shock” type sensation
  • A tingling sensation
  • Toe cramp
  • Swelling

The Early Bird Catches The Neuroma

Treating Morton’s Neuroma really depends on the age of the symptoms, long-term suffers may find that surgery or injection therapy provides the most effective relief for the later-stage symptoms. Sufferers who are within the early stages of the condition are recommended to see to the rest and recovery of the area by applying icepacks and performing gentle massage while avoiding sports or excessive activity.

Sufferers at all stages of the condition are highly recommended to avoid tight fitting shoes, poorly-fitting fashionable shoes and high heels.

Modifying your shoes is a possible way of making sure your feet sit well and supported inside your foot, but short of defacing a favourite pair of shoes, an insole is an effective way of keeping Morton's Neuroma symptoms at a comfortable level while you recover.

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