Diagnosing And Treating Morton's Neuroma

October 25, 2023

Do you sometimes feel like you have a pebble on the surface of your foot while walking? The most likely cause of the condition is Morton's neuroma. Individuals call it the 'tumor of the nerve.' However, it is not a tumor but the thickening of the tissues. The thickness usually arises next to the nerve leading to the toe. The individuals who are most prone to it are women, and they are ten times likely to have the condition compared to men. The primary reason being women wear heels often. The heels may cause a lot of pressure to the foot and thus leading to Morton's neuroma. Also, wearing tight and narrow shoes may bring about the disease. The most regularly affected area is between the third and fourth toes. Learn about how Morton's neuroma is diagnosed and treated now.

History Of Pain And Examination

It is critical to contact a physician whenever you feel you might have symptoms of Morton's neuroma. The first step the doctor will do is to review your history of pain and conduct an examination. You need to provide the doctor with all the symptoms you are experiencing. No matter how small and insignificant the signs may be, let the physician know. The symptoms will assist the doctor to assess your history of pain and conduct examinations to obtain the correct diagnosis. Different individuals usually have varying experiences with Morton's neuroma, so do not compare your symptoms with the symptoms of another.

Some patients experience pain, others feel a burning sensation, cramping, and numbness, while others feel like they have a pebble on the feet. A physical examination is mandatory. It helps the doctor assess the area to ascertain the condition. The most common test is the Mulder's sign, which entails putting pressure on the field to see if there is any change in symptoms.

Keep reading to learn about the next method of diagnosing Morton's neuroma.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging And Ultrasound Testing

The two most common tests in diagnosing Morton's neuroma include magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs) and ultrasound testing. Your doctor is likely to recommend one to you during your visits. The conventional radiographs are likely not to provide accurate results or detect the condition accurately. You will require an x-ray examination, which uses sound waves in creating images of your foot.

MRIs and ultrasounds as testing are the most preferred because it provides accurate outcomes. The ultrasound method can help the physician distinguish Morton's neuroma from the others that may mimic the symptoms. The other likely complications are capsulitis, stress fractures, and plantar plate disruption. An MRI is another technique that provides an accurate diagnosis. The doctor will possibly see the neurovascular bundle region in the toe and determine the diagnosis.

Get to know how to treat Morton's neuroma.

Resting The Foot

When you have walked for a long time with those high heels, the best thing you need to do is rest your foot, which will help alleviate pain. The rest relieves the pressure you felt previously on your foot. You can relax, and the pain will go away.

Some doctors recommend doing a few exercises while resting. You can slowly stretch your feet and toes to allow for proper blood circulation. Massage is also another option that will help relieve the pain, numbness, and pressure. The massage therapy ought to focus on postural alignment and the feet. Using a padding material will allow feet to relax. The padding relieves and absorbs the pressure from your feet while supporting you. When it is necessary to wear shoes to go somewhere, you can look for loose shoes, which will still provide your feet the comfort and relaxation to ease the pain.

Keep reading to learn more about how shoes can help treat Morton's neuroma.

Better Fitting Shoes

Better-fitting shoes act as a prevention measure as well as treatment for Morton's neuroma. After experiencing the excruciating pain with tight or high heeled shoes, you need rest. A change in the type of shoes you wear is very critical. For individuals who still need to walk somewhere daily for example when going to work, try flat shoes. The flat shoes will help give you a break while your feet relax and get back to normal. Avoid wearing high heels for a while to give your time feet to heal.

Doctors recommend if you have to wear high heels to do so when you are not walking for long distances. You can decide to wear heels for events where you know you will not need to move a lot. Look for padded shoes especially the athletic ones. The orthotics come well-padded both in the sole and on the sides. The padding keeps your feet comfortable when you are engaging in a lot of sports. Flat and comfortable shoes relieve the pressure on your feet and allow the bones to spread out well.

Learn more about treating Morton's neuroma.

Use Of Ice Packs

When it is your first time getting the symptoms, you can try out conservative non-medical remedies. The self-help measures entail the use of ice packs to relieve the pain and pressure on the foot. Note this method is not a long-term solution for Morton's neuroma. Only use it when your pain level is mild. Individuals who have had symptoms for an extended period should seek professional medical help.

You will need to place the ice pack to the affected area for at least fifteen to twenty minutes. For better results, try alternating the ice packs with heat therapy. After putting the ice pack, remove it and replace with a heating pad for fifteen to twenty minutes. The treatment helps reduce the pressure on feet, reduce swelling, and increase the blood flow in the area. Consequently, the foot will heal very fast. Do not use the ice packs to relieve pain if your foot is sensitive or has issues with circulation.

Continue reading to learn how supporting the foot can significantly help treat this condition.

Orthotics And Arch Supports

Whether they are custom-made or over-the-counter, orthotics and arch supports are medical devices that support the entire foot, as they help to reposition the heel, arch, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and bones in the feet, allowing the structures in the foot to work together more effortlessly and making each step pain-free for the individual. Arch supports, foot pads, and orthotics fit gently inside the shoe and help to reduce pressure on the affected nerve. Relating to Morton’s neuroma, orthotics and arch supports are used as a viable treatment as both devices help to prevent the rolling in of the transverse arch of the foot that is located in the ball of the foot, known as the Metatarsal Arch, when the patient is walking. When the bones in the arch roll together, they are responsible for compressing the nerve and subsequent pain associated with Morton’s neuroma, providing the patient with an effortless way to find instant pain relief.

Next, find out which medications a patient can take to help relieve their foot pain.


Anti-inflammatory medications can significantly help reduce the pain that is caused by Morton’s neuroma. Specifically, over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories will do, such as ibuprofen and naproxen, as they can help relieve intense pain and reduce swelling and redness that a patient can experience with this condition. Anti-inflammatory medications can also greatly help control the symptoms associated with Morton’s neuroma and the nerve damage that is occurring. These symptoms include a tingling, burning, and numbness sensation, a feeling that something is inside the ball of the foot, that there is something in the shoe, or the sock is bunched up in some way, as well as pain, redness, and swelling as previously mentioned.

Discover another way to effectively treat Morton’s neuroma next.

Foot Exercises

Before trying any invasive procedures and even post-surgery, foot exercises can greatly alleviate pain and inflammation as stretching the foot helps to strengthen the arch of the foot. Foot and leg exercises that can significantly help include stretching the lower leg, calf, and Achilles muscles, and stretching the plantar fascia along the bottom of the foot. Exercises should begin slowly to help stop the nerve from becoming inflamed again.

Basic exercises that help include stretching the overall foot by rolling it back and forth over a bottle or ball on the floor, and to strengthen the foot, try making a figure-eight-pattern with the affected foot, leading with the big toe. To stretch the plantar fascia, an individual can take the heel in one hand and place the other hand under the ball of the foot and toes, and gently pull back the front of the foot and toes towards the shin bone.

Reveal another form of medicine that can greatly improve symptoms of Morton’s neuroma now.


Before diving into surgery, most doctors will recommend that a patient affected by Morton’s neuroma try injections to help ease their pain and discomfort. There are two types of injections that are generally used to treat this uncomfortable condition: corticosteroid and alcohol sclerosing injections. Corticosteroid injections are a type of steroid medication that is injected into the area of the neuroma and helps to reduce inflammation and pain. Only a limited number of injections can be done due to possible serious side effects, such as hypertension (high blood pressure) and weight gain. Alcohol sclerosing injections are believed to help reduce the size of Morton’s neuroma as well as relieving the pain a patient may be experiencing, and injections are usually done every seven to ten days. For the patient to experience maximum pain relief, doctors recommend between four and seven injections.

Keep reading to uncover an invasive approach that is used to treat Morton’s neuroma now.

Surgical Procedures

If other therapies, medicines, and procedures have not helped treat Morton’s neuroma and symptoms persist after nine months to a year, surgery is generally the final solution. Fortunately, surgery is typically effective, however, it can cause permanent side effects such as numbness in the affected toes, hence why it is usually the last option for a patient to try. Surgical procedures for Morton’s neuroma involves either removing the damaged nerve or removing the pressure on the nerve by cutting surrounding ligaments or fibrous tissue that is causing the pain. There are three surgical approaches: the dorsal approach, the plantar approach, or decompression surgery.

The dorsal approach involves the surgeon making an incision on the top of the foot, which thankfully allows the patient to walk soon after surgery as the stitches are not on the weight-bearing side of the foot. The plantar approach is when the surgeon makes an incision on the sole of the foot, and most patients will need to use crutches for up to three weeks during their recovery, however, the neuroma is easily reached and removed without cutting through any important structures within the foot. Decompression surgery is when surgeons are able to alleviate the pressure on the nerve by cutting nearby structures, such as ligaments that bind some bones in the front of the foot.

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