Morton’s Neuroma and Ball Of Foot Pain: Causes and Relief Using Orthotics

March 10, 2009

Common Symptoms of Morton’s Neuroma

A neuroma is identified by a non-cancerous lump of nerve tissue that is capable of growing in any part of the body. Morton’s Neuroma occurs when there is compression to the nerve found between the third and fourth metatarsal bones in the foot, causing thickening of this nerve tissue. As the nerve is compressed, symptoms such as tingling and numbness of the toes start to occur. These symptoms are more noticeable when there is weight placed on the front of the foot, which causes a great deal of pain.

What Causes Morton’s Neuroma?

Causes of Morton’s Neuroma are not unequivocally clear, but anything that places abnormal pressure on this nerve can cause this tissue to thicken. Morton’s Neuroma can be caused by wearing high heeled shoes that constrict the toes. Also, having flat feet can cause the metatarsals to drop, which causes pressure on this nerve. Thickening of this tissue can also be caused by irritation to the nerve or injury.

A Common Cause of Metatarsalgia

Metatarsalgia (ball of foot pain) is another foot condition that presents itself as pain in the this area. This ailment often happens to women who wear high heels, or people who wear shoes with no cushion or arch support. The bones in the foot can drop when the structure of the foot is weakened. When we wear shoes that do not provide enough support and cushioning we place excessive pressure on the ball of the foot and we experience pain. Also, people that suffer from excessive pronation can experience metatarsal pain in the ball of their feet. Overpronation is a condition in which the ankles tend to roll inward and can lead to arch pain.

Diagnosis and Treatment for Mortons Neuroma

To properly treat this condition, one must get a proper diagnosis. A podiatrist usually examines the foot by pushing on the area of pain, squeezing the toes and pushing into the gap between the third and fourth toes. In some cases, he or she may be able to feel the neuroma. Doctors can also try to elicit Mulder’s sign, a clicking noise, by pushing on the area of pain. If the doctor is not able to feel a neuroma, he or she can employ other tools such as an x-ray to discount the possibility of any broken bones. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) allows physicians to clearly see a neuroma.

Treatments for Morton’s Neuroma can consist of several options, from resting the foot to surgery. In many cases the doctor will try the most conservative treatments first. Conservative treatments include resting the feet, wearing more comfortable shoes and trying orthotics to improve arch support. Orthotic arch supports also assist in distributing your weight more evenly over the entire foot, lessening the pressure on the ball of the foot. In many cases you will see an improvement by using a combination of these conservative treatments. In severe cases, where these options are not helpful, your doctor may prescribe injections to attempt to decrease the size of the neuroma. In extreme situations, surgery may be the only realistic approach.

Our foot care is an extremely important factor in our overall health and well-being. If you are suffering from intense pain in your feet, it is best to have a doctor examine your feet as soon as possible in order to determine the cause.

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