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Pain in the Ball of the Foot May Be Morton’s Neuroma

Nerve damage in the feet can be very painful and often is accompanied by other symptoms like weakness, swelling and numbness. If left untreated, the condition may worsen and even cause permanent damage.

Morton’s neuroma first presents as pain in the ball of your foot and a feeling as if you are walking on a pebble. Even though a neuroma is a benign nerve tumor, Morton’s neuroma isn’t a tumor but instead is thickening tissue that encircles the nerve leading to the toes.

Symptoms and Causes of Morton’s Neuroma

The neuroma often develops between the third and fourth toes and forms when the nerve is compressed or injured. Because Morton’s neuroma isn’t really a tumor, there are usually no outward signs like a lump. Patients experience sharp or burning pain in the toe area or foot. Other symptoms include an uncomfortable feeling or numbness.

Women are 8 to 10 times more likely to get Morton’s neuroma than men. Often wearing tight shoes especially those that compress the toe area causes this nerve damage, and high heels multiply the effect by shifting the weight forward. Runners also may feel pain as they push off from the starting block. Trauma from a prior injury or from having a heavy object dropped on the toes can result in a neuroma.

Morton’s Neuroma Treatment and Prevention

If you have pain and/or numbness in the toe area, make an appointment to see Stavros O. Alexopoulos, DPM, for an evaluation. We will thoroughly examine your foot and take x-rays to rule out any arthritis or a stress fracture.

We will first work on conservative treatments including:

  • Changing to shoes with wide toe boxes and low heels. These give more room to the feet and toes and may allow the nerve to heal.
  • Custom orthotics to reduce pressure on the nerve by lifting and separating the bones.
  • A series of corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation and swelling.

Studies show that non-invasive treatments succeed in 80% of patients with Morton’s neuroma. Decompression surgery or removal of the nerve, generally with a short recuperation period, may be considered for pain that doesn’t go away.

You can prevent Morton’s neuroma by wearing shoes with plenty of toe room. Limit wearing high heels. We can evaluate your stride and the wearing of your shoes and recommend the best type of shoes for your condition.

Don’t Suffer from the Pain and Numbness of a Neuroma

Take action to resolve pain in the ball of the foot caused by Morton’s neuroma. Call Dr. Alexopoulos, board certified podiatrist in Chicago at 773-561-8100 or contact us via the website. The sooner you call, the quicker we can work together to heal your neuroma or any other foot or ankle problem.