Foot Facts on Mortons Neuroma

Our feet keep us moving, but one painful condition which can slow us down is Morton’s neuroma.

This neurological issue affects the ball of your foot, most commonly between the third and fourth toes.

Named after American surgeon Thomas George Morton, this thickening of the tissue around the nerves connecting to the toes often feels like you’re standing on a pebble in your shoe.

Interestingly, Morton’s Neuroma is predominantly seen in females, who are 10 times more likely to experience this painful foot problem of the metatarsals (foot bones).

Mortons Neuroma Symptoms

So, what does it feel like to have Mortons neuroma? The pain in the toes can feel like cramping pain, radiating across the third, fourth and fifth toes of the foot.

Mortons neuroma symptoms may also present as burning pain in the ball of the foot. The pain generally worsens with activity or wearing tight fitting shoes.

Some people may experience numbness in the toes as Mortons neuroma symptoms. For sprinters, the pain is often felt as they push off from the starting block.

Mortons Neuroma Test & Diagnosis

The Mortons neuroma test requires the physician to conduct a range of motion tests, putting pressure on the spaces between the toe bones to try to replicate the pain.

Applying direct pressure between the metatarsal bones will produce pain symptoms and a palpable ‘click’ between the bones. This Mortons neuroma test is referred to as the Mulder’s Sign.

This Mortons neuroma test is important to rule out arthritis, joint inflammations or a stress fracture.

Another clinical test can include an ultrasound for Mortons neuroma referred by a sports podiatrist to get a better look at the internal machinations inside the foot.

Mortons Neuroma Causes

Mortons neuroma causes can be anything that contributes to compression or irritation of the foot nerves. One of the most common offenders is the type of shoes you wear, especially high heels which squeeze the toe forward.

Physical foot deformities such as bunions, flat feet or hammer toes can also be behind Mortons neuroma. Activities such as running, basketball, or squash, which repetitively injure the ball of the foot, are other potential Mortons neuroma causes.

Mortons Neuroma Treatment

Depending on the severity and duration of your problem, Mortons neuroma treatment varies. Mortons neuroma treatment can include the use of a Mortons neuroma pad. The padding technique provides support for the foot arch and lessens the pressure on the nerve as it lifts and separates the metatarsal bones.. As part of Mortons neuroma treatment, custom orthotic devices prescribed by a sports podiatrist can also provide the support required to reduce pressure and compression.

Mortons Neuroma Exercises – do they work?

There is no clinical research that conclusively supports the practice of any Mortons neuroma exercises. Some practitioners will advise you to stretch the plantar fascia, grip your heel in one hand and place the other hand under the ball of your foot. Then gently pull back the front of the toes toward the shin. It is unclear as to whether these stretches work. Another suggested stretch in the range of Mortons neuroma exercises is the bottle roll, running a glass or plastic bottle along the bottom of your foot. It can be said that this technique is better suited to Plantar Fasciitis.

 Mortons Neuroma Surgery

In severe cases where patients don’t respond to initial Mortons neuroma treatment, surgery is required to fix the problem. The condition’s namesake, surgeon Thomas George Morton, devised the successful operation to alleviate the painful pressure and compression between the bones. Mortons neuroma surgery involves either removing the nerve or removing the pressure on the nerve by cutting the surrounding ligaments at the base of the affected toes.

sports podiatristKarl Lockett

mortons neuroma