What is Morton’s Neuroma?
Morton’s Neuroma affects the ball of your foot and is a painful condition most commonly affecting the area between the third and fourth toes. Morton’s Neuroma can cause a feeling of standing on a fold in your sock or having a pebble in your shoe. Morton’s Neuroma is caused by a thickening of the tissue surrounding one of the nerves that leads to the toes. It can cause a sharp and burning pain focused on the ball of the foot, as well as potentially causing the toes to sting, burn or feel numb. Several factors have been linked to the development of Morton’s Neuroma. High heels and shoes that are too tight or don’t fit properly can contribute to Morton’s Neuroma due to the extra pressure placed on the ball of the foot and the toes. High-impact athletic activities where participation can subject the feet to repetitive trauma, such as in the case of running or jogging, can also contribute to the development of Morton’s Neuroma. Additionally, sports such as skiing or rock climbing that require tight-fitting shoes or boots can place additional pressure on the toes and aggravate the condition. Lastly, the risk of developing Morton’s Neuroma is higher in people with flat feet, high arches, hammertoes, and bunions.
How do I know I have a neuroma?
A neuroma will need to be properly diagnosed through a physical exam performed by a doctor as there are no outward signs on the body or foot of the condition. Based on the symptoms you are experiencing, you can think that the pain is a neuroma but without getting an x-ray, ultrasound, or MRI, you can’t know for sure. These tests can be used to rule out other injuries in the affected area, such as a stress fracture, as well as to show any abnormalities of the soft tissue, like in the case of a neuroma. MRI tests are expensive and typically only used in patients who are not experiencing symptoms.
What are the signs and symptoms of Morton’s Neuroma?
The signs and symptoms of Morton’s Neuroma will all be focused on the ball of the foot and the toes. Usually, there are no visible external signs of the condition, like a lump, to indicate that there is something wrong with the foot. Without a visible sign of injury to rely on, individuals have to go by the symptoms they are feeling in their foot to determine if they need to seek treatment. Symptoms of Morton’s Neuroma can include the feeling of standing on a fold in your sock or a pebble in your shoe, a burning pain focused on the ball of the foot that may or may not radiate down into your toes, and a numb or tight feeling in your toes. If the foot pain you are experiencing lasts longer than a few days or you are experiencing a burning pain that isn’t improving, then it’s best to get a doctor to check out your foot. Changing footwear and modifying your activities can help relieve stress on your feet that is causing you pain, but if the pain is still there after making these changes, it is a good idea to seek medical attention to check for Morton’s Neuroma.
How is Morton’s Neuroma diagnosed?
Your doctor will perform an exam on the affected foot by pressing on the foot to search for a mass or any tender spots, particularly around the ball of the foot or the toes. During the exam, you may experience a clicking feeling between the bones in your foot. In order to properly diagnose a Morton’s Neuroma, your doctor will most likely send you for additional imaging tests to capture what is going on with the bones and nerves in your foot. An x-ray could be ordered to rule out the presence of a stress fracture, which is easily spotted through this type of imaging test. An ultrasound is a good option for revealing abnormalities in soft tissue, including neuromas. The last test option is an MRI, although these are not often used unless the patient has no symptoms, as they are expensive.
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