Morton’s neuroma definition
Morton’s neuroma is a disorder characterized by pain in the ball of the foot, commonly in the area between the third and fourth toes. Some people describe the discomfort as feeling as if they are walking on a pebble or as if there is a crease in their socks.
In Morton’s neuroma, the tissue around one of the nerves in the foot becomes thickened. This leads to burning, sharp pain and, since the affected nerve leads to the toes, the toes may also feel numb or burn and sting. The pain of Morton’s neuroma is generally most intense in the ball of the foot.
Some shoes increase the risk for Morton’s neuroma development. For example, Morton’s neuroma has been linked to wearing high-heeled shoes. However, people have experienced relief from the condition by wearing different shoes with lower or no heels and footwear that provides more room for the toes. In severe cases of Morton’s neuroma, surgery or injections of steroids may be needed to correct the condition.
Risk factors for Morton’s neuroma development
Factors that are believed to contribute to Morton’s neuroma may include:
- Wearing high heels. People who wear high-heeled shoes or too tight footwear may be at increased risk for Morton’s neuroma, so wearing appropriate shoes is essential for Morton’s neuroma prevention. This is because this type of footwear puts additional pressure on the ball of the foot and on the toes.
- Participating in certain sports. People who are active in high-impact sports like running or jogging may be at increased risk for this condition. This is because of the repetitive trauma these activities place on the feet. Activities that require snug footwear may also increase the chances Morton’s neuroma will develop. This is due to the pressure exerted on the toes by the tight shoes. Activities like this include rock climbing and snow skiing.
- Foot deformities. People with high arches, bunions, or hammertoes, are at increased risk for Morton’s neuroma.
Causes of Morton’s neuroma
It is believed that the causes of Morton’s neuroma development can be an injury, irritation, or pressure to one of the nerves that leads to the toes.