Learn About Morton’s Neuroma: A Neurological Disorder

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What is Morton’s neuroma?

Also called intermetatarsal neuroma or plantar neuroma, this is a condition in which non-cancerous development of nerve tissue grows in the foot between the third and fourth toes. It can be caused by irritation, stress, pressure, and injury. In addition to causing pain and numbness in the third and fourth toes, this condition has an effect on the nerve between the second and third toes leading to trigger signs and symptoms in those areas. This condition uncommonly influences the nerve between the first and second toes, or between the fourth and fifth toes. Affecting only one foot is the main characteristic of the condition.

Causes of Morton’s neuroma

Researchers have not yet found the exact cause, but this condition might occur in response to irritation of a plantar digital nerve and stress. Contributions of swelling and thickening or fibrosis can also grow in the nerve that will compress the nerve.

The growth of the neuroma may happen due to the anatomy of the foot bones. The nerves flowing between metatarsals or a group of five long bones of the forefoot will be irritated since the space between the second and third toes and between the third and fourth toes is narrow. The irritation will exacerbate if the sufferer wear high-heeled shoes and tight or ill-fitting shoes.

The irritation of the nerve might occur because the joints in the foot near the digital nerves are inflamed, triggering the neuroma. Therefore, you should be careful when you do jogging since this high-impact activity might traumatize your feet.

This condition might develop from movement abnormalities due to hammertoe deformity or claw toe, bunions, or flatfeet.

Signs and Symptoms

The signs and symptoms are various depending on each individual. When you feel a burning sensation in the ball of your foot spreading to your toes, or numbness and tingling in your toes, you might have Morton’s neuroma. You can allay the burning sensation by taking your shoe off, relaxing your foot, and rubbing it. Symptoms may last for a few days or weeks. However, the sufferer might suffer from pain for a week but nothing for a year, then symptoms might later return.

Once you have a burning sensation in the ball of your foot for more than a few days, you are better off consulting your physician or the podiatrist in addition to choosing better shoes, relaxing the foot, or changing your activities that involve your foot.

Diagnosis

The physician or the podiatrist will examine your foot to find whether or not you have this condition. If your physician finds a thickened area in your foot that might be tender, he or she can anesthetize your affected foot to alleviate the pain. It can help your physician diagnose your problem.

The physician or the podiatrist may suggest you take an x-ray or an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan. An x-ray can make sure that fracture does not exist in your foot, while an MRI scan can confirm that a tumor does not cause the irritation in your foot.

Treatments for Morton’s neuroma

The physician or the podiatrist may recommend undergoing non-surgical and surgical treatment to overcome the problem. Non-surgical treatment includes footwear modification, local anesthetic injections, and calf stretch.

Surgical treatment is required when non-surgical treatments do not allay the pain in your foot. The surgeon makes a small incision in the top or the sole of the foot. More space around the affected nerve is created afterward. The surgeon can incise the affected nerve instead. If this happens, long-term numbness of the skin may occur.

References

MayoClinic.com: Morton’s neuroma - https://www.mayoclinic.com/health/mortons-neuroma/ds00468

Patient.co.uk: Morton’s neuroma - https://www.patient.co.uk/health/Morton%27s-Neuroma.htm

Morton’s neuroma: Symptoms, Treatments, and Information - https://www.mortonsneuroma.net/

HealthCommunities.com: Morton’s neuroma - https://www.podiatrychannel.com/mortonneuroma/index.shtml

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