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    A foot X-ray showing the complex bone system that makes up the human foot
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    The human foot and ankle has a complex anatomy. It is composed of the outer skin layer, the vascular system, neuromuscular system and skeletal system. Any of these can develop problems during your lifetime.
Morton's Neuroma

Definition

Morton's Neuroma is a common foot problem associated with pain, swelling and/or an inflammation of a nerve, usually at the ball-of-the-foot between the 3rd and 4th toes, but can occur in between any nerves between the bones attached to the lesser toes. Symptoms of this condition include sharp pain, burning, and even a lack of feeling in the affected area. Morton's Neuroma may also cause numbness, tingling, or cramping in the forefoot and toes.

 

Cause

Morton's Neuroma is a foot condition caused from an abnormal function of the foot that leads to bones squeezing a nerve. Symptoms of Morton's Neuroma often occur during or after you have been placing significant pressure on the forefoot area, while walking, standing, jumping, or sprinting. This condition can also be caused by footwear selection. Footwear with pointed toes and/or high heels can often lead to a neuroma. Constricting shoes can pinch the nerve between the toes, causing discomfort and extreme pain.

 

Treatment and Prevention

The first step in treating Morton's Neuroma is to select proper footwear. Footwear with a high and wide toe box (toe area) is ideal for treating and relieving the pain. The next step in treatment is to use an orthotic designed with a metatarsal pad. This pad is located behind the ball-of-the-foot to unload pressure, separate the metatarsal bones and relieve the pain caused by the neuroma. When this does not alleviate the painful symptoms corticosteroid injections may be used to treat the painful neuroma.

One can prevent a Neuroma from occurring or re-occurring by wearing footwear the correct size and width. Avoid narrow footwear with a pointed toe-box particularly in women. A bunion deformity may cause an increased foot width which requires wide footwear to accommodate the bunion and prevent compression of the nerves between the lesser toes.   

 

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