What is Morton’s Neuroma?
Morton’s neuroma is a condition which causes pain at the base of the toes—usually described as the metatarsal heads. When present, pain occurs when putting pressure on the ball of the foot and is usually worse bare footed. Most people find that the pain resembles a feeling such as standing on a sharp pebble or marble. Morton’s neuroma often affects the area between the lesser toes and it makes walking difficult because placing pressure of any kind to this region creates the sharp sting or pain.
This condition occurs when the tissue around one of the nerves leading to the toes begins to thicken. Often, this is the result of repetitive injury (exercise) or excessive pressure such as wearing high, tight heels in women.
What are the Symptoms of Morton’s Neuroma?
Symptoms associated with Morton’s neuroma include a sharp, intermittent pain on the ball of the foot when pressure is placed in this region. Many times, a patient will not have any visible symptoms in the area where the pain is coming from. Typically, there will not be a lump or mass that can be seen. This is because Morton’s neuroma occurs inside the ball of the foot and is a benign condition. Many patients also complain of numbness in the toes or a tingling or unpleasant sensation in the toes.
How is Morton’s Neuroma Diagnosed?
Our physicians will conduct a thorough physical examination of the foot and will check for a mass of any kind near and between the toes. During the physical exam, he will place pressure on the areas where the pain is occurring and look for evidence of any other condition that might be causing the pain such as a fracture or bruising. In most cases, we will order an X-ray to confirm and/or rule out that a fracture is what is causing the pain. In most cases, a diagnosis of Morton’s neuroma is accurate once a fracture is ruled out. Typically an MRI or higher level imaging is not needed but some cases this may help further diagnose the neuroma.