Description: A neuroma is a benign tumor of a nerve. Morton’s neuroma is not actually a tumor, but a thickening of the tissue that surrounds the digital nerve leading to the toes. It occurs as the nerve passes under the ligament connecting the toe bones (metatarsals) in the forefoot. Morton’s neuroma most frequently develops between the third and fourth toes, usually in response to irritation, trauma or excessive pressure. The incidence of Morton’s neuroma is 8 to 10 times greater in women than in men.
If you sometimes feel that you are “walking on a marble,” and you have persistent pain in the ball of your foot, you may have a condition called Morton’s Neuroma.
Anything that causes compression or irritation of the nerve can lead to the development of a neuroma.
People with certain foot deformities such as bunions, hammertoes, flatfeet, or more flexible feet are at higher risk for developing a neuroma. Other potential causes are activities that involve repetitive irritation to the ball of the foot, such as running or racquet sports. An injury or other type of trauma to the area may also lead to a neuroma.
Footwear: The first step in treating Morton’s Neuroma is to select proper footwear. One of the most common offenders is wearing shoes that have a tapered toe box, or high-heeled shoes that cause the toes to be forced into the toe box. Footwear with a high and wide toe box (toe area) is ideal for treating and relieving the pain. Avoid high heels or tight shoes, and wear wider shoes with lower heels and a soft sole. This enables the bones to spread out and may reduce pressure on the nerve, giving it time to heal.
How can orthotics help? Orthotics help relieve irritation by lifting and separating the bones, reducing the pressure on the nerve. A fully posted orthotic especially behind the metatarsals help to unload pressure and helps relieve the pain caused by the neuroma.