Our feet take a beating every day. Day in and day out, we walk, run, and jump on them, with little thought of how well we’re taking care of our feet. After a while, our feet might develop conditions that cause us pain as a result of either an injury, too many repetitive movements, or just wearing the wrong shoes too many times. One of those conditions is Morton’s Neuroma, which can cause pain in the ball of the foot and make it feel like you’re standing on a pebble or marble whenever you put weight on your foot. In some cases, people who experience Morton’s Neuroma have numbness in their toes. If left untreated, Morton’s Neuroma can lead to permanent nerve damage. Fortunately, it’s treatable.
What is Morton’s Neuroma, exactly?
The name sounds a little scary, but Morton’s Neuroma is benign. It’s not a tumor. It’s caused by a thickening of nerve tissue near the base of the toes, usually in between the third and fourth toe. Women tend to develop the condition more frequently than men (by as much as 80 percent), possibly because they are more likely to wear dress shoes with high heels and pointy toes, which can, over time, force the foot bones to shift into abnormal patterns. The thickened nerve tissue, though non-cancerous, causes pain and won’t go away on its own.
What are symptoms of Morton’s Neuroma?
The symptoms of Morton’s Neuroma aren’t visual. You won’t feel a lump or see any swelling. Instead, you’ll feel symptoms. You might start feeling numbness in your toes and pain radiating from the ball of your foot. Usually, the condition only appears in one foot, though in some cases it can appear in both feet. Some people find it hard to walk normally because of the pain. A percentage of people have Morton’s Neuroma without any signs of pain, though, so it isn’t always apparent.
Wearing high heeled shoes can make your symptoms worse, so switch to more comfortable shoes to avoid the added pain and make it less likely that you’ll change your gait to compensate for the pain.
What causes Morton’s Neuroma?
There are a few things that can cause the condition. Prolonged wearing of high heeled, tight toed shoes is one commonality among women who have Morton’s Neuroma. Years of wearing these shoes can change the bone structure of your foot and cause the nerve tissue to thicken, leading to Morton’s Neuroma. It’s also connected with people (men and women) who have flat feet, high arches, bunions, and hammer toes.
Certain activities can lead you to develop Morton’s Neuroma as well, such as sports that require tight fitting shoes (think of ballet or even skiing), and sports with repetititve movements, like running or tennis. Runners might feel their Morton’s Neuroma as they push off the starting block.
Can you treat Morton’s Neuroma?
The good thing is that Morton’s Neuroma can be treated, so you can get back to normal and stop living with pain every time you take a step. Depending on the severity and your particular situation, you may not even need surgery. In fact, most patients are able to recover with conservative care methods.
You can start today by wearing flat, comfortable shoes that allow your feet and toes to spread out and relieve pressure on your foot instead of tight dress shoes that cause you pain and discomfort. It’s worth sacrificing style for comfort.
Do you think you have Morton’s Neuroma? Give us a call today so we can get you back on your feet!