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Definition

A Morton's neuroma is a benign (noncancerous) swelling along a nerve in the foot. Morton's neuroma occurs in a nerve in your foot, often between your third and fourth toes. The condition isn't a true tumor, but instead involves a thickening of the tissue around one of the digital nerves leading to your toes.

Causes

Morton's Neuroma is a foot condition caused from an abnormal function of the foot that leads to bones squeezing a nerve usually between the 3rd and 4th metatarsal heads. The most common cause of pain is thought to be irritation on the nerve. The chronic nerve irritation is believed to cause the nerve to scar and thicken, creating the neuroma.

A Morton's neuroma can result from wearing poorly fitted or high-heeled shoes that compress and put pressure on the feet, as well as very athletic and high-impact activities that traumatize the feet. It can also be due to poor foot mechanics.

Symptoms

This pain may occur in the middle of a run or at the end of a long run. If your shoes are quite tight or the neuroma is very large, the pain may be present even when walking. The patient may experience spontaneous shooting pains, which are often referred to as an "electric shock". This can affect patients when are sleeping at night.

Treatment

For the best and easy treatment most patients find removing their shoes and massaging the feet to reduce the pain. A metatarsal pad is also effective which is a appropriate footwear. About 25% of patients will experience complete resolution of their symptoms by taking these steps.
The x-ray and MRI will the entire doctor to get a better look at the foot and to ensure that the compression is not caused by a tumor in the foot.

The more traditional procedure involves removing the neuroma. Since the neuroma is part of the nerve, the nerve is removed, or transected, as well. This results in permanent numbness in the area supplied by the nerve. To remove a neuroma surgically, a small incision is made in the skin between the two toes that are affected by the neuroma. The neuroma is located and removed by cutting the nerve. The skin incision is repaired with stitches and a dressing applied.

Steroids are medications that reduce inflammation. An injection of a corticosteroid medication in the area of the neuroma may reduce pain. However, overuse of injected steroids can lead to a number of side effects, including weight gain and high blood pressure, so people usually receive only a limited number of injections.

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