Ask A Podiatrist: What Is Morton’s Neuroma?

If you’ve ever felt a burning or painful sensation between your third and fourth toes, you may be familiar with Morton’s neuroma. Unfortunately, symptoms of this foot condition also present with a feeling of stepping on a pebble or of having your sock/shoe bunched up underneath the ball of your foot. The pain can be frustrating, but is it dangerous?

Causes of Morton’s Neuroma

Morton’s neuroma affects women more often than men and is often caused by wearing high heels or shoes with pointed or thin toe boxes. These types of footwear constrict the toe area and push the toes together, causing pain. Over time, the tissue between the toes can thicken, pushing against the joints and causing pain. The pain may be frequent or infrequent, but it usually presents while wearing the offending footwear.

This condition can also present in athletes who are on their toes often, such as runners. In addition, individuals who wear tight-fitting shoes for sports (such as skiing or ice skating) may also develop this foot condition.

What Is Morton’s Neuroma?

A neuroma is a noncancerous tumor, but Morton’s neuroma is not a tumor at all. Because of this, there are generally no visible signs of the condition, like a lump or tumor. Instead, pain and the feeling of stepping on a marble are the easiest ways to identify Morton’s neuroma. 

Neuromas can also develop in other areas of the foot. They most frequently occur between the third and fourth toes, causing pain on the ball of the foot, but rarely there may be more than one neuroma on the same foot.

How Can I Treat Morton’s Neuroma At Home?

Our patients often seek at-home remedies to correct foot issues before coming to see us at Best Foot Doctor. In the NY/NYC area, we tend to see the more advanced cases of Morton’s Neuroma requiring surgery, but this condition can be treatable at home if caught early or in a mild form. Here are three ways that you can relieve the pain caused by Morton’s neuroma.

  1. Wear loose-fitting, comfortable footwear with a toe box that allows toes to move freely. By releasing the restrictions on your toes and the ball of the foot, the tissue in between your third and fourth toes can relax and may heal itself.
  2. Elevate the painful foot and apply ice for up to 20 minutes every hour.
  3. Take an over-the-counter pain reliever to reduce pain and inflammation.

If these at-home remedies are not proving helpful, you may need to see a licensed physician to take a look at your Morton’s neuroma. They will be able to diagnose the condition and confirm if the neuroma is present. A podiatrist like Best Foot Doctor can also explain treatment options to you and may offer a cortisone shot to relieve the pain.

If you are located or close to the NYC area, we would be happy to set up an appointment with you. We service the Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan areas and would be glad to schedule an appointment to identify and help you treat your Morton’s neuroma.

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