Morton's Neuroma: A Runner's Foot Pain

If you are a jogger or runner, you already know this is a sport that can wreak havoc with your joints, particularly your knee and hips joints. But running can also cause problems with your feet. One of those problems is a condition podiatrists call Morton's neuroma. Here is what you need to be aware of.

What Are The Symptoms of Morton's Neuroma?

Usually, the bottom of the foot won't outwardly appear as anything is wrong. Instead, it will feel as though you have a small stone stuck in your shoe or as if your socks were bunched up, causing irritation. On closer inspection, however, nothing is in your shoe. The ball of your foot may be painful or feel fiery, and your toes may feel numb or have a burning sensation as well.

What Causes Morton's Neuroma?

Constant irritation and stress appears to be the cause of most cases of Morton's neuroma. The ball of the feet hits the pavement hard when running, taking the majority of the shock. Wearing high heels can also cause the same stress. The skin gradually thickens around one or more of the nerves that run to your toes, causing nerve pain.

How Is Morton's Neuroma Diagnosed?

Your podiatrist may feel a small lump in your foot, just under the sole, but this isn't always the case. Diagnostic imaging tests may then be done. An x-ray will be ordered to help rule out other causes of foot pain, such as a stress fracture or small break in one of the 26 bones in your foot. An ultrasound is especially useful for imaging soft tissues, like a neuroma. An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) may also be ordered, but this is usually done as a last resort if the x-ray and ultrasound don't show anything. An MRI is more sensitive, but it is also considerably more expensive.

How Is Morton's Neuroma Treated?

Treatment options vary according to the severity of the condition. Special arch supports and pads may be custom made to form to your foot. These are then used as inserts in your shoes. The extra padding helps to cushion the inflamed nerves.

Steroid injections may also alleviate the pain of Morton's neuroma, but the arch supports and pads are usually tried first. Surgery to sever the nerve may also be done, but while this will stop the burning sensation and pain, it may leave your toes with permanent numbness. Contact a medical office, like East Village Foot & Ankle Surgeons , for more help.