By JAY MERMELSTEIN, DPM
August 18, 2021
Category: Foot Care
Tags: Morton’s Neuroma
Are you experiencing a sharp, burning pain between your toes that gets worse when walking or standing? Do you notice tingling or numbness in the toes, or pain and swelling on the soles of the feet? If so, you could be dealing with a condition known as Morton’s neuroma that causes thickening of the nerves between the toes. If you suspect that you might have Morton’s neuroma, a podiatrist will be the ideal doctor to turn to for treatment.
Are neuromas dangerous?
It’s important not to confuse a neuroma with Morton’s neuroma. A neuroma is a benign growth that develops on the nerves; however, Morton’s neuroma is not a growth; it’s simply inflammation and swelling of the tissue around the nerves that lie between the toes (often between the third and fourth toes).
What causes Morton’s neuroma?
Any kind of intense pressure or compression placed on these toes can lead to inflammation of the tissue around the nerves. Some people are more at risk for developing Morton’s neuroma. Risk factors include:
- Playing certain sports such as running or tennis, which puts pressure on the balls of the feet
- Wearing high heels with a heel that’s more than 2 inches tall
- Wearing narrow shoes or shoes with pointed toes
- Certain foot conditions such as bunions or hammertoes
- Flat feet or high arches (or other congenital foot problems)
What are the signs of Morton’s neuroma?
Since this condition involves inflamed tissue, you won’t notice a growth or bump in the area; however, you may simply experience pain that is gradual and minor at first and is alleviated by not wearing shoes. Symptoms often get worse with time and result in:
- Swelling between the toes
- A sharp burning pain between the toes that gets worse with activity
- Tingling or numbness in the foot
- Feeling like there is a pebble or stone in your shoe (often at the balls of the feet)
- Pain that’s intensified by standing on your tiptoes or wearing high heels or pointed-toe shoes
How is this foot problem treated?
Most people can alleviate their symptoms through simple lifestyle modifications including:
- Massaging your feet
- Shoe pads
- Custom shoe inserts (that a podiatrist can craft just for you)
- Supportive footwear that offers shock-absorption
- Non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs
- Steroid injections
- Local anesthetic injections
Any persistent or severe foot pain or swelling, along with numbness or tingling, should be addressed right away by a podiatrist. There are many conditions, some serious, that can cause a lot of these same symptoms and a podiatrist will be able to provide an immediate and accurate diagnosis for your symptoms.