Morton’s neuroma

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Morton’s neuroma refers to a nerve injury between the toes—usually the third and fourth toes. Those who have experienced this condition have likened the feeling of “walking on a marble.” While uncomfortable and often painful, Morton’s neuroma is treatable.

At OrthoAspen, our dedicated orthopedic specialists are accustomed to helping patients navigate the symptoms and treatment of Morton’s neuroma. Our goal is to have you back on your “healthy feet,” as quickly and safely as possible.

Causes & Symptoms

More common in women, Morton’s neuroma causes pain and thickening of the nerve tissue. Compression or chronic irritation of the interdigital nerve is the main cause of Morton’s neuroma. Excess pressure is exerted on the nerves due to narrowing of the gap between the toe bones. The result is thickening of the nerve tissue from scar tissue formation which leads to swelling of the nerve and surrounding tissue.

Symptoms include:

  • A burning pain in the ball of the foot (may also radiate to the toes)
  • A numbness in the affected toes
  • An inability to walk
Diagnosis

To properly diagnose Morton’s neuroma, an OrthoAspen foot and ankle specialist begins by examining the foot. Palpation of the foot between the toes may reveal a thickened and tender area. A foot X-ray may be ordered to rule out other bone disorders.

Treatment

Early treatment is critical to relieve pain. Mild to moderate cases of Morton’s neuroma can be managed by conservative treatment.

Conservative treatment measures include:

  • Ice packs over the inflamed area to reduce swelling.
  • Rest of the foot, especially from activities that aggravate the condition.
  • Anti-inflammatory medications to help alleviate pain and inflammation.
  • Sclerosant injections—a highly concentrated alcohol is injected into the neuroma, under ultrasound guidance, causing chemical destruction (sclerosis) of the fibrous nerve tissue.
  • Footwear modifications such as utilization of low-heeled shoes and broad-toe box shoes with special pads to minimize discomfort between the toes.
  • Physical therapy to relieve pressure and improve the foot function.

Your OrthoAspen physician will only suggest surgery as a last option if symptoms fail to resolve with conservative treatments. Other factors to determine whether surgery is necessary, include:

  • Age
  • Activity level
  • Damage to the nerve

If surgery is recommended, the surgical procedure involves the release of the compressed nerve by resection of the involved nerve (neurectomy) or the surrounding tissue.

Again, our goal is to find an expedient treatment that’s safe and effective and minimally disruptive to your daily activities.

If you suspect that you may be experiencing Morton’s neuroma, our OrthoAspen foot and ankle orthopedic experts are here to help. Simply click here to request an appointment or call us at 970-544-1289.

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Visit OrthoAspen in two convenient locations
Aspen Clinic
Aspen Valley Hospital
0401 Castle Creek Rd., Suite 2100,

Aspen, CO 81611
+(970) 544-1289
+(970) 544-1110
Basalt Clinic
Midvalley Medical Center
1450 E. Valley Rd., Suite 201,

Basalt, CO 81621
+(970) 544-1289
+(970) 544-1110