Westlake Kensington Square, 28687 Center Ridge Road
(440) 871-3400

Lakewood 3386 Warren Road
(216) 671-7440

Lorain 1740 Cooper Foster Park Rd. West Suite B
440-282-1221

Wellington 508 Dickson St.
1-888-961-8038

Morton's Neuroma

What Is a Neuroma?

A neuroma is a thickening of nerve tissue that may develop in various parts of the body. The most common neuroma in the foot is a Morton's neuroma, which occurs at the base of the third and fourth toes. It is sometimes referred to as an intermetatarsal neuroma. "Intermetatarsal" describes its location, in the ball of the foot between the metatarsal bones (the bones extending from the toes to the midfoot). Neuromas may also occur in other locations in the foot. The thickening or enlargement of the nerve that defines a neuroma is the result of compression and irritation of the nerve. This compression creates swelling of the nerve, eventually leading to permanent nerve damage.

Symptoms of a Morton's Neuroma

If you have a Morton's neuroma, you will probably have one or more of these symptoms where the nerve damage is occurring:

  • Tingling, burning, or numbness
  • Pain
  • A feeling that something is inside the ball of the foot, or that there's a rise in the shoe or a sock is bunched up

The progression of a Morton's neuroma often follows this pattern:

  • The symptoms begin gradually. At first they occur only occasionally, when wearing narrow-toed shoes or performing certain irritating activities.
  • The symptoms may be made to go away temporarily by massaging the foot or by avoiding irritating shoes or activities.
  • Over time the symptoms progressively worsen and may persist for several days or weeks.
  • The symptoms become more intense as the neuroma enlarges and the temporary changes in the nerve become permanent.

What Causes a Neuroma?

Anything that causes compression or irritation of the nerve can lead to the development of a neuroma. One of the most common offenders is wearing shoes that have a tapered toe box, or high-heeled shoes that cause the toes to be forced into a restricting toe box.

People with certain foot deformities--bunions, hammertoes, or flatfeet--are at higher risk for developing a neuroma. Other potential causes are activities that involve repetitive irritation to the ball of the foot such as running or racquet sports. An injury or other type of trauma to the area may also lead to a neuroma.

Diagnosis

To arrive at a diagnosis, the doctor will obtain a thorough history of a patient's symptoms and examine the foot. During this examination, the doctor attempts to reproduce the symptoms by manipulating the foot. Other tests may be performed. X-Rays may be taken to evaluate any deformity of the metatarsals. A diagnostic ultrasound may also be utilized to positively identify the neuroma.

The best time to visit Corrigan Podiatry is early in the development of symptoms. Early diagnosis of a Morton's neuroma greatly lessens the need for more invasive treatments and may preclude surgery.

The preceding is for informational purposes only. The material is derived from the current medical knowledge on the topics listed. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This site does not provide medical advice.  A special "thank you" is extended to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, as much of the information is derived from their literature and websites.

Office Hours for Corrigan Podiatry

Westlake

9:00 - 5:00

Warren Rd.

Closed

Westlake

9:00 – 5:00

Warren Rd.

9:00 - 12:00

Westlake

9:00 - 5:00

Warren Rd.

Closed

Westlake

9:00 – 4:00

Warren Rd.

9:00 - 12:00

Westlake

9:00 – 4:00

Warren Rd.

Closed

Two a month Westlake / Lakewood

With full

Surgery staff

9:00 - 12:00

Call for Details

Wellington

One Saturday / Month

We will be happy to visit qualified homebound patients.

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