A Morton's neuroma is a benign growth or tumor on the intermetatarsal plantar nerve, most frequently between your third and fourth toes. These usually cause either numbness or a piercing pain in the area commonly referred to as the ball of your foot. This may feel as if you are standing on a rock that is stuck in your shoe.
Morton's neuromas are usually caused by some sort of pressure, irritation or damage to that area of the foot. These conditions are almost always caused by ill-fitting footwear such as high heels, playing sports that involve considerable impact on the feet, or foot deformities such as high arches, hammertoes, and flatfeet.
Like many other neuromas, these can be identified through a combination of consultation with your doctor as well as imaging tests such as x-rays and MRIs. After you are diagnosed, your doctor will determine how severe your injury is and, based on that evaluation, he or she will recommend a specific treatment. If you have the less severe type of Morton’s neuroma, your doctor will likely recommend some type of therapeutic foot insert to essentially alleviate any pain or physical symptoms, because living with a mild neuroma is very manageable and tends to pose no long-term risks. If you have a more serious version of the condition, then your doctor may recommend a series of steroid injections to help alleviate the pain and aid healthy tissue in the area. If this does not work, then it will likely be time for surgery. There are two options when it comes to surgery for Morton’s neuromas: decompression or a complete removal of the nerve. As you might imagine, complete removal of the nerve is the absolute last resort when it comes to these neuromas. This can lead to a complete loss of feeling in the toes nearest to the nerve. Decompression surgery is the less extreme option where a surgeon can cut nearby structures such as ligaments to help relieve the amount of pressure in the area. Once you see your doctor, you can supplement whatever it is he or she does by taking anti-inflammatory drugs such as Advil. You can also give the affected foot ice massages on a regular or semi-regular basis to help avoid any residual pain.