A Morton’s neuroma is a ‘tumour’ that affects the nerves running between the metatarsals in your foot. It is a benign (non-aggressive) enlargement or swelling of the nerve, that classically occurs between the 3rd and 4th toes.
The true cause is not known, but factors that may contribute to their formation include previous injury to the area, flat feet, and wearing tight footwear. Patients describe persistent pain in the ball of the foot, often with radiation into the toes. This is worsened with weight-bearing and when in tight footwear. In addition, there is often a clicking or popping sensation at the site of the lesion when the foot is compressed from the sides.
The treatment is quite simple for Morton’s neuroma – if the symptoms are mild and not impacting on quality of life, the condition can be monitored and dealt with if the situation deteriorates. Tailor made orthotics and shoes with a wider toe box are simple measures that can help reduce symptoms. Corticosteroid injections around the nerve swelling are also an option to reduce inflammation, though results are mixed.
If your condition fails to respond to these non-surgical options, a small procedure can be performed to remove the enlarged nerve. This is performed through a small incision on the top of your foot, and dissection out of the affected segment of nerve. The consequence of this is that the nerve will not function below where it is cut – this means you end up with lost sensation between the toes supplied by the nerve affected. A procedure to spare the nerve can be performed, in which the ligaments holding the bones together in the foot are cut, allowing increased space around the swollen nerve. The results can be good, but it is a less reliable option. Dr Host will discuss the option that best suits your circumstances, and tailor your treatment to your specific requirements.