An interdigital neuroma, also known as a Morton’s neuroma, is a condition that involves inflammation to one of the key nerves in your feet. These interdigital nerves run between your metatarsal bones that connect your foot to your third and fourth toes, and you’d be amazed at how much discomfort can come from one little irritated nerve in your forefoot. In today’s blog, we explain why neuromas develop in your feet and how Dr. McDonald can help you treat the condition.
What Is A Morton’s Neuroma?
Despite having the term neuroma in its name, a Morton’s neuroma isn’t really a true neuroma. Neuromas are noncancerous growths that can form along nerves on the body, whereas a Morton’s neuroma doesn’t involve extra nerve tissue growth. A Morton’s neuroma involves swelling, inflammation or a thickening of an existing nerve in the foot. They are noncancerous and do not cause cancer.
When these nerves in your feet become thickened or inflamed, it can be quite painful to bear weight through your foot. Many patients describe the sensation as if they are walking on a small pebble or marble, with each step beckoning more discomfort. Pain is typically felt in the ball of your foot, between the toes.
And while the exact cause of Morton’s neuromas are not known, it is believed that they can develop due to excessive pressure on the forefoot. That’s why they tend to be more common in athletes, dancers and people who regularly wear high heels. Neuromas may also be more likely to develop if you have certain underlying foot issues, like flat feet, high arches, bunions or hammertoes.
Diagnosing And Treating Morton’s Neuromas
If you are dealing with pain on the underside of your forefoot or walking has become difficult, reach out to a foot specialist like Dr. McDonald. He’ll begin by taking a closer look at your foot through a physical exam. Your provider may be able to diagnose the condition by watching you walk and applying some gentle pressure to the underside of your foot, but they may also opt to perform additional testing. An ultrasound or electromyography can help your doctor get a better understanding of the nerve issue you’re dealing with.
If Morton’s neuroma is confirmed, your doctor will walk you through some treatment options. The standard course of care begins with a combination of conservative treatments. Since the neuroma is likely being caused by excessive pressure on the nerve, footwear changes, activity modification, orthotic inserts and weight loss usually prove to be effective. Medications and even corticosteroid injections may also be recommended based on the extent of the swelling and inflammation.
In rare instances where conservative care doesn’t address the problem, a surgical procedure may be recommended. Your specific course of care will be dictated by your individual needs, but surgical treatment typically involves nerve removal or ablation to put an end to the painful nerve sensations you are experiencing. While these procedures tend to be successful, Morton’s neuroma rarely reaches the point where an operation becomes necessary.
Don’t let discomfort on the underside of your foot affect your mobility and your independence. Be more cognizant of your footwear choices and protect the area in the short-term to allow the swelling to recede so that you can continue to live an active lifestyle. For more information about how you can treat Morton’s neuroma, or to talk to a foot specialist about a different foot or ankle issue, reach out to Dr. McDonald and his team today at (860) 244-8889.