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Morton’s Neuroma Causes and Treatment
What is Morton’s Neuroma?
Morton’s Neuroma, also known as Morton’s metatarsalgia, is a condition that affects the nerves between the base of the toes that supply sensations to this area (usually between the third and fourth toes). It is characterized by a thickening of the tissue around those nerves and is more common in women than in men.
What causes Morton’s neuroma?
Morton’s neuroma is caused by long-term pressure, either in the form of injury, irritation, compression etc., on one of the plantar digital nerves (nerves that lead to the toes). The repeated stress triggers a response which causes a thickening of the nerve tissue (neuroma). Women, who frequently wear high-heeled or narrow shoes, often suffer from Morton’s neuroma because these shoes tend to squash, rub, stretch, or compress the nerves between the base of the toes. Participating in high-impact activities such as jogging or running and many sports, in general, can also cause Morton’s neuroma as these activities, or the footwear they require can put intense pressure on the ligaments. In addition, people that have certain foot deformities such as bunions, flat feet, and hammer toes, are also more prone to Morton’s neuroma as these conditions can cause the ligament to put pressure on the nerve as well.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms are varied and can be intense. You might feel as if you’re standing on a pebble inside your shoe or even a crumpled or wrinkled a sock. You might also experience an intense pain in the ball of your foot that radiates into your toes. A tingling sensation or numbness in the toes or ball of the foot is another common symptom of Morton’s neuroma.
Sometimes it might feel like there is a protuberance or swelling between the toes.
A feeling that your toes are asleep is yet another common symptom of Morton’s neuroma.
Finally, your toes might feel like they are cramping or you might experience a clicking sensation when you walk.
What are the treatment options?
While Morton’s neuroma will not go away on its own, there are measures you can take to alleviate pain and improve the foot’s condition. Sometimes the symptoms will ever go away entirely.
One of the most important measures you can take to help alleviate foot pain caused by Morton’s neuroma is buying proper footwear. This means buying shoes that have good arch support and a broad toe box that allows the toes to spread out. Shoes like Dtfootwear, which are biomechanically engineered with unique therapeutic features, have proven extremely effective in easing pain and discomfort associated with Morton’s neuroma.
Treatment measures you can take on your own include the following:
maintaining an appropriate body weight
avoiding activities, at least temporarily, which put pressure on the foot
massaging the foot and affected toes
resting the foot
using an icepack on the affected area
There are also special exercises you can perform that can improve strength and flexibility of the arch. These include exercises that stretch the Achilles muscle, the calf, the lower leg and the plantar fascia along the bottom of the foot, as well as exercises in general that strengthen foot muscles. Some of these exercises are described below:
1. Place the heel of your foot in one hand while also placing the other hand under the ball of your foot and toes. Then, slowly and gently pull the front of the foot and the toes toward your shin.
2. Stretch the foot by rolling it back and forth over a bottle on the floor.
Over-the-counter (OTC) medications and injections are another treatment option for Morton’s neuroma. Injections can be either corticosteroid injections or alcohol sclerosing injections. The first reduces inflammation and pain. The latter can help reduce the neuroma and provide some pain relief.
As a last resort, you might consider surgery; while usually effective, most doctors prefer that sufferers of Morton’s neuroma exhaust all other treatment options first, as the surgery can result in permanent numbness of the affected toes.
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