Morton’s Neuroma is a nerve entrapment syndrome that can affect the medial and lateral plantar nerves in one or both feet.
The word “neuroma” usually refers to benign tumors that grow on nerve cells. In the case of Morton’s Neuroma, however, it describes a layer of thickened tissue that puts pressure on nerves in the ball of the foot.
This thickened tissue can lead to symptoms of nerve dysfunction, such as:
It can be difficult to determine the cause of foot pain on your own. Many different conditions can cause pain, numbness, tingling, or other symptoms involving your feet, ankles, or lower legs.
If you have any pain or discomfort in your feet, we recommend seeing a podiatrist in the Sandy area to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.
Yes, especially if it’s left untreated. It can affect nerves in the ankle or lower leg, increasing your pain and possibly affecting your walking ability.
It is easier to treat Morton’s Neuroma before permanent nerve damage occurs, so for both these reasons, we recommend seeing a foot and ankle specialist as soon as possible.
The two main risk factors are differences in foot anatomy and wearing uncomfortable or excessively tight shoes.
Even in cases where an inherited or lifelong condition like flat feet contributes to risk, wearing the right kind of shoes and possibly orthotics can reduce your risk of Morton’s Neuroma and other foot and ankle issues.
Here are some of the contributing factors for Morton’s Neuroma:
As a result, you may put more strain on the forefoot when you walk, possibly stressing the nerves in the area.
Runners and other athletes need a shoe that provides support and cushioning in the forefoot without squeezing the toes too tightly.
If the heels have a pointy toe, they could worsen the situation by compressing the forefoot even more. This may be one reason women are 8 to 10 times more likely to have Morton’s Neuroma.
In general, any shoe that’s too tight around the toes or too narrow could also prove problematic.
Your doctor will create a treatment plan based on the severity and causes of your condition. Some of the options include:
Many patients are surprised at how much symptom relief they can get from wearing different shoes, adding custom orthotics, or both. People sometimes report that their symptoms are gone after replacing the offending shoes with a more comfortable pair.
One of the first things your podiatrist will do after diagnosing a Morton’s Neuroma is inquire about your shoes and how they feel. Do your symptoms subside when you remove your shoes? That’s often an indicator that the shoes play a role in your pain.
We may also ask to see the shoes you’re wearing or observe how your feet fit in them. If your shoes are too tight, we will probably recommend that you buy a new pair and advise you on how to check the fit.
If you wear high heels frequently, we may suggest flats or something with a lower heel and a wider toebox. Making these changes often helps a great deal.
If you’re athletic, you probably know how much you use your feet and how important it is to wear supportive shoes.
Unfortunately, sometimes people choose shoes that fit too tightly or don’t have the best cushioning where it’s needed. Others may have bought a solid pair of shoes, but they wore out quickly due to frequent use.
Some people need additional support, even with a well-made and comfortable shoe.
If you have flat feet or other foot conditions, custom orthotics can significantly improve your comfort. For example, a “wedge” in the heel of your shoe is helpful if you have flat feet or fallen arches and may help treat your Morton’s Neuroma.
Your foot and ankle specialist will take scans of your feet and create molds using plaster. This process is done in the office, usually on the same day as your initial appointment.
We’ll provide a temporary orthotic to wear while the more durable set is created in a lab. After the permanent orthotics arrive, you’ll try them out, and we can make adjustments if needed.
Also known as RICE, these steps can help reduce inflammation and pain while you use other treatment methods to address the cause or causes of your Morton’s Neuroma. Your doctor may recommend staying off the foot as much as possible for several weeks.
If you’re athletic, we will probably suggest taking a break from your sport until your symptoms subside. In the meantime, you might try non-weight-bearing exercises like swimming instead.
We may start by recommending over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications like aspirin or ibuprofen. If these aren’t effective or you’ve already tried them, we’ll consider other options. Steroid injections frequently provide relief, but steroids risk serious side effects like bone loss and infection, so they can’t be used repeatedly. Sometimes, we might also try alcohol injections to soothe the nerve or use a local anesthetic for temporary relief.
When other methods have not helped enough, surgery may provide the relief you need. There are two potential options: Decompression or a neurectomy.
Decompression surgery requires removing some of the thickened tissue, relieving pressure on the nerve. For many people, this provides relief by “untrapping” the nerve.
A neurectomy is a more common procedure in which the foot and ankle specialist removes part of the damaged nerve, which is often very effective at relieving pain and other symptoms.
Your doctor will decide which approach is best for your situation and discuss the potential benefits and risks of surgery.
Any operation has some risks, including infection, blood clots, excessive bleeding, and more. However, most people have good outcomes with surgery for Morton’s Neuroma.
If you’ve been diagnosed with Morton’s Neuroma or have undiagnosed foot or ankle pain, the next step should be to seek help from an experienced podiatrist. Your foot doctor will examine the feet, looking for a mass or lump that may indicate swelling around the nerves.
They will gently apply pressure to different areas of the foot to identify precisely where the pain is, and in many cases, the podiatrist will order imaging like X-rays or an MRI, or a CT scan. These are done to rule out other conditions like stress fractures.
Because Morton’s Neuroma affects the nerves, your doctor might also perform nerve conduction studies to learn more about how the nerves in your feet are working.
The office of Dr. Elizabeth Auger, DPM, is ready to book your appointment. Dr. Auger has been practicing podiatry here in the Sandy area for more than 24 years.
Following her graduation from Temple University, she moved to the Salt Lake City Area and completed her medical residency. An active person who enjoys the outdoors and the scenic attractions nearby, she began practicing in Sandy and focuses on patient-centered, holistic care.
Dr. Auger belongs to the College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons and is Board Certified in Podiatric Medicine by The American Board of Lower Extremity Surgery.
Our helpful administrative staff is happy to help if you have inquiries about insurance coverage and appointment availability. Most of the time, we can even fit you in for a same-day appointment.
Once you’re here, we’ll take a detailed medical history, and then the doctor will examine your feet and run tests as needed. Whether you have Morton’s Neuroma or another foot condition, we’ll prescribe a customized treatment plan to keep you moving.
Call 801-758-7052 for a solution to Morton’s Neuroma today.