Ouch! If you have what feels like a small stone in your shoe, only to find nothing there, you may have something called Morton’s neuroma. A neuroma can occur anywhere in your body when a nerve and its surrounding tissue becomes pinched and irritated. The most common site for a neuroma to develop is in one of the plantar nerves of your foot, usually between the metatarsal bones of your second and third or third and fourth toes. This is called a Morton’s neuroma or an intermatatarsal neuroma.
The symptoms of Morton’s neuroma include:
- The sensation that you have something in your shoe or you’re walking on something that’s not there, such as a pebble or a wrinkle in your sock.
- Pain in the front of your foot
- A burning sensation, numbness, or a tingling feeling that begins in the ball of your foot that may radiate toward your toes.
At first, these symptoms may be sporadic, occurring only when you’re wearing shoes with a narrow toe box or with high-impact physical activities. You may feel better when you stop the activities that are causing your painful symptoms or switch your shoes. The neuroma may become larger and more inflamed over time, aggravating your symptoms dramatically. Without intervention, changes to the affected nerve can become permanent.
There are a number of risk factors, but essentially anything that compresses or irritates one of the plantar nerves can cause Morton’s neuroma. Some common factors for this condition include:
- Wearing shoes with a narrow toe box. This presses the metatarsal bones in the front of your feet together, causing compression on the plantar nerves.
- High heels, which forces the weight of your foot forward into the shoe, which is typically narrow and tapered at the toe, compressing the front of your foot.
- Foot conditions, such as hammertoes or bunions increase your risk of having Morton’s neuroma. In addition, having a very low arch, flat feet, or very flexible feet can also up your chances of developing a neuroma.
- Repetitive sports that involve high impact motions are a risk factor for Morton’s neuroma. It’s commonly diagnosed in runners or people who engage in court sports, such as tennis or basketball.
- Morton’s neuroma may also occur in people who engage in sports that require tightly fitting footwear, such as ski boots, skates, or climbing shoes.
- An injury or trauma to your foot may also trigger Morton’s neuroma.
In some instances, there are modifications that you can make at home to help relieve the symptoms of Morton’s neuroma. Wearing shoes with a wide toe box can help take some of the pressure off the nerve, reducing your pain and allowing it to heal. If you suspect your Morton’s neuroma is the result of high impact activities, icing after an activity or giving your feet a rest can help the nerve calm down. If you have a foot condition that’s contributing to the problem, getting appropriate shoes, padding, or orthotics from a podiatrist may also be useful in alleviating this condition.
Help from BodaHealth for Morton’s Neuroma
At BodaHealth, our practitioners are experienced in effectively treating Morton’s neuroma, using the following methods:
-Shockwave Therapy. At BodaHealth, we have found shockwave therapy to be a valuable healing tool for Morton’s neuroma. This treatment involves sound waves applied to the affected area in a series of pulses to stimulate healing. The waves can be felt, but the intensity can be controlled both by the head that delivers the pulse, and the pressure delivered. The acoustic pulses provide mild percussion to the area that helps to relieve pain and promote healing.
-Injection Therapy. This involves injecting natural substances around the neuroma to reduce pain, decrease inflammation, and promote healing. Depending on the exact location and nature of the neuroma, a naturally occurring substance in your body called hyaluronic acid may be injected to create space between the bones, reduce inflammation, and relieve pain. In other instances, a solution of sterile water with 5% dextrose may be used to help calm the nerve, or a combination of B vitamins may be injected to promote tissue repair.
-Acupuncture. At BodaHealth, our acupuncture practitioners treat patients with a wide variety of health conditions, including Morton’s neuroma. Based on your health history and the history of your current symptoms, your acupuncturist will develop a treatment plan focused on your specific needs. Research has discovered that acupuncture works by increasing certain neurotransmitters in your body that reduce pain. It also increases circulation in the treated area and reduces inflammation.
-Osteopathy. Our osteopathic practitioner is highly trained and experienced in hands-on manipulations to treat issues within your musculoskeletal system. Through osteopathic techniques, your practitioner is able to reduce inflammation, reduce muscular tension, and relieve pain that’s related to Morton’s neuroma.
The bottom line is that most of us don’t think about our feet until they begin to bother us. If you have Morton’s neuroma, you may find that the pain and nerve symptoms ultimately keep you from doing the activities that are important to you. At BodaHealth, we have the healing tools to help you “get back on your healthy feet” again! Contact us today to see how.