Morton's Neuroma

What is a Neuroma?

A neuroma is a thickening of the tissue surrounding a nerve.  The most common neuroma in the foot is a Morton's Neuroma, which occurs between the 3rd and 4th toes. 

The thickening of the nerve tissue is the result of compression and irritation of the nerve.  This compression creates enlargment of the nerve, eventually leading to permanent nerve damage.  

Causes

One of the most common offenders to a Morton's Neuroma is wearing shoes that have a tapered toe box, or high-heeled shoes that cause the toes to be forced into the toe box. 

People with bunions, hammertoes, flatfeet, or more flexible feet are at higher risk for developing a neuroma.  Other causes could be activities that involve repetitive irritation to the ball of the foot like running or court sports.  An injury or other trauma may also lead to a neuroma.

Symptoms

A Morton's Neuroma may present with the following symptoms:

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

Diagnosis

Dr. Haynes will obtain a thorough history of your symptoms and examine your foot. The doctor will attempt to reproduce your symptoms by manipulating your foot and may perform other tests or imaging.

The best time to be seen is early in the development of symptoms. Early diagnosis of a Morton's Neuroma greatly lessens the need for more invasive treatments and may avoid surgery.

Non-surgical Treatment

When developing a treatment plan our foot & ankle surgeon will first determine how long you've had the neuroma and evaluate its stage of development.  Treatment approaches vary according to the severity of the problem. 

For mild to moderate neuromas, treatment options may include:

When is Surgery Needed?

Surgery may be considered in patients who have not responded adequately to non-surgical treatments.  Dr. Haynes will determine the approach that is best for your condition. The length of the recovery period will vary depending on the procedure performed, but patients are typically very pleased at how minimal this procedure can be and how quickly they can get back to their normal activities. 

Regardless of whether you've undergone surgical or nonsurgical treatment, Dr. Haynes will recommend long-term measures to help keep your symptoms from returning.

If you think you may have a Morton's Neuroma call our office, we have 2 locations to serve you. Sandy, OR 503-668-5210  Portland, OR 971-254-8944.  If your need is urgent call our after hours line at 503-374-4223 and Dr. Haynes would be happy to see you. 

Information provided by the American College of Foot & Ankle Surgeons 

Author
Trevor Haynes, DPM

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