Thumbnail image of: Morton's Neuroma: Illustration

Morton’s Neuroma

What is a Morton’s neuroma?

Morton’s neuroma is an overgrowth of nerve tissue in the ball of your foot between the bones of your toes. It most often affects the nerves between the bones of third and fourth toes.

What is the cause?

The exact cause of this disorder is not known. Possible causes include:

  • Tight shoes or high heels
  • Running on hard surfaces
  • Flat feet, hammer toes, bunions, or other foot problems that may irritate the nerves

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms may include:

  • Pain in the ball of your foot that gets worse when you walk, stretch your toes up, or put pressure on your foot
  • Numbness or tingling between your toes

How is it diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms and medical history and examine you. You may have X-rays.

How is it treated?

Your provider may recommend anti-inflammatory medicine, or give you a shot of a steroid medicine. A steroid shot may give you relief in a few days to a few weeks.

You may need surgery to remove the neuroma.

How can I take care of myself?

Follow the full course of treatment prescribed by your healthcare provider. In addition:

  • Wear properly fitting shoes.
  • Take an anti-inflammatory medicine, such as ibuprofen, as directed by your provider. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) may cause stomach bleeding and other problems. These risks increase with age. Read the label and take as directed. Unless recommended by your healthcare provider, do not take for more than 10 days.
  • Use a metatarsal pad underneath the painful part of your foot.
  • Keep your foot up on a pillow when you sit or lie down.
  • Put an ice pack, gel pack, or package of frozen vegetables wrapped in a cloth on the area every 3 to 4 hours for up to 20 minutes at a time.
  • Your healthcare provider may recommend shoe inserts, called orthotics. You can buy orthotics at a shoe store or they can be custom-made.

Ask your provider:

  • How long it will take to recover
  • If there are activities you should avoid and when you can return to your normal activities
  • How to take care of yourself at home
  • What symptoms or problems you should watch for and what to do if you have them

Make sure you know when you should come back for a checkup. Keep all appointments for provider visits or tests.

How can I help prevent a Morton’s neuroma?

It is not known how to prevent a Morton’s neuroma. However, wearing properly fitting shoes and getting treatment for other foot problems may help.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2014-12-08
Last reviewed: 2014-12-08
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.

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