The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

What’s That Lovely Neuroma?

Posted by on Tuesday, March 27th, 2012


Got a pain in your foot? A mystery pain? Well, today may be your lucky day! We’re going to talk about a new foot condition that may just possibly be the answer to you achy little foot.

I say that because today’s condition of choice, Morton’s neuroma is something you don’t hear much about; sure, Plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis or ruptured Achilles tendons, and foot stress fractures are covered everywhere (including here, of course). But what if that nagging little tingly spot in your foot doesn’t fit those descriptions? Let’s find out about neuromas, then, and see if that’s the answer.

What on earth is a neuroma? It sounds like some kind of expensive skin care product. A neuroma is thickened nerve tissue that can develop anywhere in your body. Morton’s neuroma, or intermetatarsal neuroma, is the name for thickened nerve tissue between your third and fourth toe; this is actually the most common kind of neuroma.

How do I know I have a Morton’s neuroma? Good question! Now my turn for questions:

  • Do you feel like you have  kind of lump or bump in the ball of your foot?
  • Does it feel like your sock is rolled or bunched up under your foot?
  • Do you have tingling or numbness in the ball of your foot?
  • Do you have pain n the ball of your foot?

If you answered yes to any of these, you probably have a Morton’s neuroma. To be really sure and get a correct diagnosis, contact a podiatrist at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine (212.996.1900) for an evaluation.

Uh oh, what causes this terrible little thing with the big name? Basically anything that squashes your toes together. Yes, we’re talking about you again, pointy toed shoes!! It’s not just stilettos, though–some suggest that cleats or toe clips on bike pedals that are too tight can also lead to Morton’s neuroma. Repetitive activities that pound the balls of your feet a lot over and over again for a long time are another common cause a Morton’s neuroma, especially if you overpronate. Yes, we’re thinking of you, people who hop up and down on the balls of their feet all day. It’s also a problem for runners (umm, I think they mean me).

If–and I mean if–I have a Morton’s neuroma, how do I get rid of it? You know how little kids have an endless ability to not listen to things you say? Don’tdo that–pay attention to the pain in your foot because early detection is your friend with a Morton’s neuroma. If you’re wearing bad shoes that squash your toes while you walk around all day, switch shoes. If you’re a runner, don’t run until the pain or tingling subsides. You can ice your foot for the pain as well and take anti-inflammatories, such as ibuprofen. Padding in your shoe, either over the counter pads found in a drugstore, or padding in a custom orthotic can also take some of the pressure off the injured nerve.

When those fail, a podiatrist at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine (212.996.1900) might consider giving you a cortisone injection in the area of the damage. If that doesn’t work, surgery to remove the nerve may be an option. Read one woman’s story here to find out what that procedure is like, and call The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine (212.996.1900) to get answers to any of your questions about the surgery.

Thank you for the offer, but I’d like to avoid a Morton’s neuroma. Understandable–I’m sure Morton is very nice, but that doesn’t mean you want his neuroma. As always, to prevent, look at the causes: make sure you wear shoes that give your toes enough room. Add padding or consider having a podiatrist at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine (212.996.1900) find an orthotic that will protect your foot. Rethink your running gait if you suspect this is what is causing the problem–talk to a running coach if necessary.

A Morton’s neuroma isn’t the most common foot injury in the world, but it’s common enough that you should consider it a possibility if you have any kind of nagging pain in the ball of your foot. If you think you have a Morton’s neuroma, or any other foot condition, contact us at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine. Dr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, and Dr. Ryan Minara have helped thousands of people get back on their feet.

If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.