Aches and pains in the feet are not unusual when you are spending hours at a time standing at a counter or walking around your business. However, ball of the foot pain may indicate something more serious when it doesn’t quickly fade as you rest and relax. If your pain is accompanied by numbness, tingling, or the feeling of a stone in your shoe that has no obvious cause, you may have the problem known as Morton’s Neuroma.
What is Morton’s Neuroma?
This condition is develops on the bottom of the foot and affects the ball and the toes. The foot features numerous important nerves that help you stay balanced and avoid falls. When one of these nerves that runs through the ball of the foot becomes damaged or irritated, serious foot pain will set in. Morton’s Neuroma can be a temporary problem that is linked to a specific activity or even one pair of shoes you regularly wear. However, serious damage to these nerves will lead to symptoms that don’t disappear very easily.
Morton’s Neuroma Symptoms
There are dozens of conditions and disorders that can affect the feet, so diagnosis depends on accurate explanation of your symptoms. Look for common problems like:
- The sensation of a marble or lump trapped below the skin – many patients report that they feel like a stone is perpetually stuck in their shoe
- Sharp or burning ball of the foot pain
- Swelling or a palpable lump between the third and fourth toes
- Numbness and pain that reaches into the toes
- Cramping toes that curl and twitch unexpectedly
- Increases in pain when standing, walking, or wearing shoes
Causes of Morton’s Neuroma
Unlike many other conditions affecting the feet or other extremities, Morton’s Neuroma develops over time. In most cases, it is possible to avoid this issue by taking care of your feet and avoiding certain types of shoes. Sudden injuries are unlikely to cause this problem, but they can trigger sprains and other forms of damage to the muscles and tendons. The most common causes include:
- Flat feet that aren’t properly supported by orthopedic inserts
- Bunions, hammer toes, and other foot problems that affect the alignment of the toes
- Abnormally high arches that aren’t supported by common footwear
- Hobbies or careers that require constant standing or walking
- Shoes that compress the toes, such as narrow toed loafers, high heels, and ballet slippers
All of these issues lead to irritation and inflammation of the nerves that cause ball of the foot pain. This irritation causes the nerve to swell and toughen up, which means your foot will burn and ache long after you take off the offending pair of shoes that caused the problem.
Morton’s Neuroma Risks
There are relatively few risks associated with Morton’s Neuroma. It is primarily a disruptive condition that causes pain without putting the foot or leg at risk for other conditions. However, some people could become further injured due to the risks of:
- Falls – it’s hard to keep your balance when you don’t want to put your weight down on the affected foot
- Further pain – neuroma can spread to nerves in the ankle or leg if the problem isn’t treated
- Numbness and loss of sensation – advanced nerve compression can cause you to lose feeling throughout the ball of the foot and your toes
Morton’s Neuroma Treatment Options
Your options for treatment include methods like:
- Surgery, which comes with a long list of risks and may not stop the nerve damage
- Lifestyle changes like changing shoes and staying off of the foot
- Steroid injections to numb the nerves without making permanent changes to the foot’s structure
- Massage to relieve pressure on the nerves from tight tendons and muscles
- Orthopedic shoe inserts to provide better support for the foot
Resolve Ball Of The Foot Pain
If pain and numbness in your feet is making it hard to get through a day at work, see us as soon as possible to reverse the nerve damage before it requires surgery. Early adjustments to stop irritation and relieve pressure will allow you to avoid surgery and other drastic treatments to eliminate your ankle & foot pain. Visit us at the New Haven office to learn more about your specific case and how we can help.