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What Is Morton's Neuroma and How It Can Be Treated

If you’re struggling with pain or numbness around the ball of your foot, you may be one of the up to 30% of people with Morton’s neuroma. While this nerve condition doesn’t always cause symptoms, it can bring pain that interferes with your daily life.

Thankfully, there are ways to manage and alleviate your symptoms — and we’re here to help.

At Oexeman Foot and Ankle, PLLC, in Chicago, Illinois, Dr. Stephanie Oexeman and her team diagnose and treat nerve pain conditions affecting your lower extremities, including Morton’s neuroma.

Here, we explore more about this condition, including effective treatments.

Morton’s neuroma symptoms

Morton’s neuroma happens when the tissue around one of the nerves in your foot, leading to your toes, thickens. That thickness can put press on your nerve, leading to a range of symptoms, such as:

  • Burning or sharp pain in the ball of your foot
  • Feeling as though you’re standing on a small rock
  • Numbness in nearby toes
  • Radiating pain, from the ball of your foot into your toes

Morton’s neuroma can affect almost anyone, but symptoms are more likely if you tend to wear high heels or tight-fitting, narrow shoes. That’s one reason Morton’s neuroma is about eight times more prevalent in women (ages 30-60) than men.

Morton’s neuroma treatment

If Dr. Oexeman suspects that you have Morton’s neuroma, she’ll test for it by pressing on your foot to feel for a tender area or mass. She might also order an imaging test, such as an X-ray or ultrasound.

Once you’ve been diagnosed with Morton’s neuroma, your treatment play may include:

  • Anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen
  • Custom orthotics or over-the-counter inserts
  • Ice massages, or rolling the affected area of your foot over a filled, frozen water bottle
  • Roomier, more supportive shoes
  • Rest from certain activities until your symptoms subside

You may also benefit from a treatment procedure, such as:

  • Chemical nerve ablation
  • Steroid injections
  • Decompression surgery
  • Surgical removal of your affected nerve

The specifics of your Morton’s neuroma treatment will depend on the severity of your symptoms. Before considering something more invasive like surgery, Dr. Oexeman will probably recommend trying conservative options. 

If you do need surgery, your outcome is likely to be positive, given that it brings an 80-95% success rate. Morton’s neuroma surgery also brings a short recovery time, although you’ll need to avoid intense activities for 2-3 weeks. Most people can return to normal footwear and exercise within a month after the procedure.

To learn more about Morton’s neuroma or to get the care you need, call our office or book an appointment online today.