A neuroma is a thickening of nerve tissue. While neuromas can occur in different areas of the body, the most common neuroma in the foot is known as Morton’s neuroma, which occurs between the third and fourth toes. It is also referred to as an intermetatarsal 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 or hammertoes are at a higher risk for developing a neuroma. One of the most common causes of foot neuroma is wearing shoes that have a tapered toe box or high-heeled shoes that force the toes into the toe box. Common symptoms can include tingling, burning, or numbness; pain; the feeling that something is inside the ball of the foot; or a feeling that something in the shoe or sock is bunched up. The best time to see a foot and ankle medical professional is early in the development of symptoms, as early diagnosis of a Morton’s neuroma greatly lessens the need for more invasive treatment and can help avoid the need for surgical intervention. Nonsurgical treatment options include padding, ice, orthotic devices, laser therapy, activity modifications, shoe modifications, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and injection therapy. Surgery should be considered for patients who do not respond to nonsurgical treatment.
“Morton’s neuroma may feel as if you are standing on a pebble in your shoe; however, that is not what you are actually feeling. Morton’s neuroma is a painful condition that affects the ball of the foot and is most common in the area between the third and fourth toes.”