Your Guide to Morton’s Neuroma Surgery And Other Treatment Options

Morton’s neuroma is a condition where tissue thickens around nerves in the foot, causing pain and discomfort. The ailment can worsen and lead to complications that make walking or carrying out daily activities difficult. While conservative treatments are often effective, more severe cases may require surgical intervention. If you are experiencing pain or discomfort in your foot and wonder if you need Morton’s neuroma surgery, the following information from the North Carolina Specialty Hospital’s Podiatry Department can help you understand the condition’s symptoms, causes, and treatment options.

Understanding Neuroma’s Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Morton’s neuroma occurs when the tissue surrounding one of the nerves leading to the toes thickens, causing pain, numbness, and tingling sensations in the affected area.

Symptoms of Morton’s Neuroma

If you are suffering from Morton’s neuroma, you may feel a sharp pain, tingling, or burning sensation in the ball of the foot. The pain may be severe enough to limit mobility.

Other symptoms of Morton’s neuroma can include:

  • Feeling like there’s a lump or a rock in the shoe
  • Difficulties walking or running
  • Discomfort or irritation in the ball of the foot
  • Cramping or muscle spasms in the affected area

If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor for a proper diagnosis. Left untreated, Morton’s neuroma can lead to more severe problems, including stress fractures and scar tissue formation.

Causes of Morton’s Neuroma

Morton’s neuroma is often brought on by wearing tight or high-heeled shoes, which can cause the nerve in your foot to become compressed or irritated. It can also be caused by:

  • High-impact exercises and repetitive sports activity
  • Congenital foot abnormalities such as flat feet, high arches, bunions, or hammer toes
  • Sports such as ballet that require tight shoes
  • Foot injuries

Research has shown that women are eight to ten times more likely to develop Morton’s neuroma than men because of the differences in their foot anatomy: A woman’s foot tends to be higher and narrower than a man’s, making it more susceptible to pressure and strain.

How Morton’s Neuroma is Diagnosed

If you believe you are suffering from Morton’s neuroma, it’s important to visit your doctor for an exam and diagnosis. Your doctor may use several methods to identify the condition, including a physical examination and an X-ray or MRI. To help make a diagnosis, your doctor will also ask questions about your lifestyle, what type of shoes you wear, and any activities that may have caused the pain.

Treatments for Morton’s Neuroma

Fortunately, there are a variety of conservative treatments that can provide relief. These include:

Shoe inserts: By using shoe inserts (also known as Morton’s neuroma pads), you can create additional cushioning and support to reduce the pressure on the ball of your foot.

Morton’s neuroma shoes (orthopedic shoes): Similar to shoe inserts in providing cushioning and support, shoes for Morton’s neuroma may also be suggested if you are suffering from frequent pain or if the inserts are ineffective.

Activity modification: This involves changing your daily routine, avoiding activities that cause pain or discomfort in the affected area, or changing the type of shoes you wear to relieve pressure.

Resting and icing the sore area: Staying off your feet and applying ice may provide relief.

Physical therapy: By working with a physical therapist, you can learn exercises and techniques to stretch and strengthen the plantar nerves in your foot, thus reducing pressure on the affected area.

Exercises include:

  • Stretches such as the plantar fascia, ball, wall, and towel stretch
  • Strengthening exercises such as the towel scrunch, alphabet, and figure eight exercises
  • Exercises to improve balance, which can help relieve stress on the neuroma

Your doctor may also recommend a foot massage. And, if you want to get a workout without causing additional foot discomfort, you may be encouraged to swim, cycle, or do yoga.

Anti-inflammatory medications: Medications like ibuprofen and naproxen can help to reduce inflammation and pain in the affected areas. For more severe symptoms, steroids may be injected into the area. However, these medications do not address the underlying cause and should be used in conjunction with other treatments.

When Morton’s Neuroma Surgery May Be Required

If conservative treatments don’t provide relief, your doctor may recommend neuroma foot surgery. Some of the surgical neuroma removal options are:

  1. Plantar approach: An incision is made to the bottom of the foot so that the surgeon can remove the neuroma.
  2. Dorsal approach: An incision is made on the top of the foot to access the neuroma for removal.
  3. Decompression surgery: Nerve pressure is relieved by cutting nearby ligaments.
  4. Ankle surgery: In rare cases, Morton’s neuroma may be caused by an issue in the ankle. Surgery may be necessary to correct the underlying problem and alleviate the symptoms.

Depending on your case, one surgical approach may be more appropriate than another. Recovery time and potential risks will also vary depending on the type of surgery.

Think You May Be Suffering from Morton’s Neuroma? Talk to North Carolina Specialty Hospital

Among our services at North Carolina Specialty Hospital is our well-regarded Podiatry Department, which offers the highest-quality foot care in the region. You’ll be back on your feet quickly with our friendly, patient-focused care. So if you are suffering from pain in the ball of your foot and suspect you may need treatment for neuroma, don’t let it affect your mobility or quality of life. Make an appointment with one of our foot doctors today.



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