Morton's Neuroma

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“Health is a large word. It embraces not the body only, but the mind and spirit as well; …and not today’s pain or pleasure alone, but the whole being and outlook of a man.” - James H. West

Morton’s neuroma, develops when there is a non-cancerous growth between the third and fourth toes. The nerve tissue expands and becomes swollen, as outlined in the image above, and the resultant sensation is a painful sensation, often experienced by patients as “feeling as if there’s a marble” in the sole of the feet. Consult with your orthopaedic specialist if you experience any prolonged pain in the feet. With the appropriate diagnostic tools, your specialist will be able to diagnose your condition.

Women are more prone to Morton’s neuroma, and the primary root cause is tied to the wearing of high heeled shoes. Take caution with your shoe design. Wearing high heels induces the conditions that develop the condition - the ability to induce stress to the nerves since the feet are not in positions that they are comfortable in, but remain elevated and stretched for prolonged periods of time. The nerves respond by thickening, causing neuroma. Additionally, some sporting activities which stress the feet, are also capable of inducing the condition.

What happens in your consultation?

During your consultation, your orthopaedic surgeon will usually ask detailed questions about the symptoms that you are experiencing. Your medical history and lifestyle will be assessed. A thorough medical examination will follow, with an X-ray, Ultrasound scan or MRI used to get a closer look at the internals of the feet. What these tools will do, is eliminate other possibilities such as stress fractures and other orthopaedic conditions, and facilitate a clear view of the internals of the feet.

Treatment

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Image Credit: YouTube

After your consultation, your orthopaedic surgeon will determine the path that you will take to recovery. For acute conditions, treatments such as corticosteroid injections, and alcohol sclerosing injections are used. These treatments are done in series, and eventually facilitate the healing of the area. If the instance of severe Morton’s neuroma, your orthopaedic surgeon will recommend a surgical option. Minimally invasive treatments are used to remove the painful growth. The adverse effect of surgery is numbness, so attempt the acute treatments for up to 6 months, before deciding with your surgeon’s help, that surgery is the path for you.

Recommended with your treatment are the following lifestyle changes:

  1. Footwear changes

  2. Pain treatment - painkillers or injection

As with all conditions, early treatments will ensure that drastic medical action will not have to be taken. Along with your treatments, there are series of physical therapy exercises that you can do, to ensure that you are improving the flexibility of the area. Additionally, insoles and orthotic devices can be applied to the area, in order to protect the area and facilitate healing.

Reference Articles:

  1. Morton’s Neuroma: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mortons-neuroma/symptoms-causes/syc-20351935

  2. Medical News Today: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/179773.php

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