Morton's Neuroma

Illustration of Morton's Neuroma

What is a Morton's neuroma?

A neuroma is a benign (not cancerous) tumor of nerve tissue. A Morton's neuroma most commonly occurs in the nerves between the bones of the third and fourth toes or the second and third toes, but can occur between the bones of any toes.

 How does it occur?

A neuroma may be caused by running or walking too much, but often it just occurs on its own. The pain is made worse by running on hard surfaces or by wearing shoes that are too tight.

 What are the symptoms?

Your foot is painful. The pain is usually worse when your toes are pointed up. You may get numbness or tingling in the affected area. You have tenderness between the bones of the third and fourth toes or between the bones of the second and third toes.

 How is it diagnosed?

Your health care provider will examine your foot and review your symptoms.

 How is it treated?

Treatment may include:

  • wearing properly fitting shoes

  • taking anti-inflammatory drugs

  • wearing a pad below one of the bones in your foot or custom-made arch supports (orthotics)

  • getting a shot of a cortisonelike medicine if the above treatments fail.

Surgery may be required to remove the neuroma.

How long will the effects last?

The effects of a Morton's neuroma may be temporary or long- lasting. Some people get better simply by wearing more comfortable shoes. Others need cortisone injections or surgery. A cortisone injection may give you relief in a few days to a few weeks. Recovery after surgery takes several weeks or longer.

 How can I prevent a Morton's neuroma?

It is not known how to prevent a Morton's neuroma. However, wearing properly fitting shoes with good padding will help decrease the pain of a Morton's neuroma.