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Morton's Neuroma: What Is It?

Dr. Eman Elmi
January 7, 2023
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Foot pain has all sorts of variations. One of the lesser-known, but still fairly common causes, is a condition called Morton’s neuroma

Morton’s neuroma can be difficult to identify because there are no outward signs of it. Symptoms can also start off fairly mild. However, if left untreated, Morton’s neuroma can develop into a severely painful condition. Luckily, treatment for Morton’s neuroma is fairly straightforward and easy to follow. 

It is rare that surgical procedures are required to treat neuroma, but that option is also available when necessary. But what is Morton’s neuroma, what causes it, and how can it be identified?

Morton’s Neuroma Symptoms

Morton’s neuroma is caused by thickened tissue around the nerves in the foot. Most commonly, it affects the area between the third and fourth toe. However, it can happen on other sides of the foot as well. Because it is a nerve condition, it can be very difficult to identify Morton’s neuroma early on. There are no visible signs, and symptoms may be extremely mild. However, there are symptoms to watch out for, which will become more recognizable over time.

Many patients with Morton’s neuroma report feeling as if they are standing on a pebble. Having a rock in your shoe is a familiar discomfort that everyone has experienced in their life. Morton’s neuroma can replicate that feeling, even when barefoot. Other common Morton’s neuroma symptoms include a burning sensation in the ball of the foot, and tingling or numbness in the toes. All of these symptoms are a result of damage or stress on the nerves in the foot.

Morton Neuroma Causes

Morton neuroma can be caused by several factors. Improper footwear is one of the leading causes of this condition. Tight-fitting or high-heeled shoes can create additional stress on the toes and balls of the feet. Wearing these shoes often over a long period of time can injure the foot in a number of ways. One of these injuries is Morton’s neuroma.

Footwear is not the only cause of neuroma, however. Physically strenuous activities may also result in Morton’s neuroma. This could be repeated high-stress activities, making neuroma somewhat common in athletes. However, trauma induced by an isolated injury can also result in Morton’s neuroma.

Fortunately, Morton’s neuroma is treatable.

Morton’s Neuroma Treatment

There are a variety of treatment options for Morton’s neuroma, with treatment plans varying from case to case. For instance, switching footwear is almost always recommended when neuroma is caused by poorly fitted shoes. In addition to changing to more supportive footwear, other Morton’s neuroma treatment plans are used to combat pain. Here are a few common Morton’s neuroma treatment options.


As with many foot injuries, Morton’s neuroma can be treated with rest or modified activity levels. Reducing activity lowers stress on the foot, and gives it a chance to recover from any damage.


Another essential treatment option for injury recovery is icing the injured area. Applying ice to the affected foot for periods of 20-30 minutes at a time can relieve pain, though only temporarily.

Pain Relievers

Basic pain relief and anti-inflammatory medication, like aspirin or ibuprofen, can also be used to temporarily reduce inflammation and pain.

Corticosteroid Injection

Corticosteroid injections into the affected area are less frequently used, but can provide relief in more severe neuroma cases.

Surgical Options for Morton’s Neuroma

If therapy and conservative Morton’s neuroma treatment does not work, surgery is a viable option. If you have tried all other options and are still experiencing pain, you should speak to a doctor. Surgical options range in scope and recovery time.

To learn more about all your Morton’s neuroma treatment options, contact the experts at Diablo Foot & Ankle today.

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