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Morton’s Neuroma

Morton’s neuroma (or Morton’s metatarsalgia) is when a nerve in the foot becomes very painful and irritated. It can affect one or both feet, usually in the nerve between the third and fourth toes (although the second and third toes can be affected too).

What causes Morton’s neuroma?

  • Morton’s neuroma can be due to the nerve being trapped between the ends of the metatarsal bones in the foot, causing it to become inflamed
  • It’s more common in middle-aged women, and may be caused by narrow shoes or high heels
  • Increased pressure on the toes when running or playing sport
  • It’s more likely if you have flat feet, high arches, bunions or hammer toes

What are the signs of Morton’s neuroma?

  • Numbness and pain between the toes
  • Severe pain in the ball of the foot, often feeling as if a stone is stuck under the foot
  • Pain is usually worse when walking, especially in badly fitting shoes
  • Pain can move along the foot or travel up the leg. Going barefoot can help

How is Morton’s neuroma diagnosed?

The swollen nerve isn’t visible under the skin so the condition can be difficult to diagnose. However, during your first appointment, you’ll have an opportunity to discuss your symptoms with Mr Heidari, who will be able to advise you on the best course of treatment.

What does treatment involve?

Not everyone with Morton’s neuroma pain needs to have surgery. In many cases, changing the type of shoes you wear, and taking anti-inflammatory painkillers (if advised by your doctor), combined with rest, losing weight if you need to, and a tailored rehabilitation programme with one of our physiotherapists is all that’s needed to relieve the pain. In some cases, you may be offered steroid injections to reduce the inflammation.

If your pain is very severe, Mr Heidari may be able to carry out Morton’s neuroma surgery to remove part of the nerve or to remove tissue that is putting pressure on the nerve.

This information is written as a guide to your treatment but it is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Please contact us for advice if you are worried about any aspect of your health or recovery.