Morton’s neuroma is a condition that affects one of the nerves between the toes, normally between the 3rd and 4th, but sometimes between the 2nd and 3rd. Fibrous tissue develops around the nerve, which becomes irritated and compressed. This causes severe pain in the ball of the foot and at the base of the toes. Morton’s neuroma can occur on one foot or both feet.
A tingling sensation may be experienced in the space between your toes, which can get worse over time. This leads to cramp in your toes and a sharp shooting or burning pain in the ball of your foot or at the base of your toes. The pain is often worse when walking or wearing shoes that “squeeze” the affected area.
If you have Morton’s neuroma, you may initially feel a tingling sensation in the space between your toes. The tingling will eventually lead to pain, which can get worse over time. The pain is usually felt as a sharp shooting or burning pain in the ball of the foot or at the base of the toes, it is often made worse when you’re walking.
The pain is likely to be more intense if you wear tight shoes, so wearing shoes that have more room in the toe area can help. Rubbing or massaging under the foot may also lessen the pain.
It’s not always clear what causes Morton’s neuroma, but several things seem to aggravate it.
These include other foot-related problems and wearing restrictive footwear.
It’s thought that Morton’s neuroma may be caused by the toe bones (metatarsal bones) pressing against the nerve when the gap between the bones is narrow. This causes the nerve and surrounding tissue to thicken.
Wearing shoes that are too tight can make the pain of Morton’s neuroma worse. This is because the toe bones are more likely to press on the affected nerve if your shoes are too tight.
High-heeled shoes, particularly those over 5cm (2 inches), or shoes with a pointed or tight toe area, can also compress your toes and make the pain worse. This is why women tend to be affected by Morton’s neuroma more than men.
Wearing shoes that fit properly and that have plenty of room in the toe area, combined with a supportive insole may help prevent Morton’s neuroma. However this will depend on how long you’ve had the condition and its severity. Another simple non-surgical treatment that may be effective for some people is the use of toe dividers.
A Morton’s Neuroma can be diagnosed by an ultrasound and as a last resort surgery may be required.
“Here at The Foot & Insole Specialist we are able to build a unique, three-dimensional insole that follows the exact contours of your feet. The state-of-the-art thermo moulding technology enables me to create an insole to cup and stabilise the heel, support the arch and create contact and support throughout the foot.
Extra support for the metatarsals can be added to help to distribute the high pressures in the forefoot, whilst also providing extra cushioning and foot control. Combine with carefully fitted footwear that is both wide enough and the correct shape for your feet for the optimum reduction of symptoms.“