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Pain associated with Morton’s Neuroma can be very debilitating. You need to know ways to deal with it on your own when your doctor is not around.
Please note however that the home remedies you are about to read are by no means a prescription that should replace medical options. These are simple pain relief strategies that are known to reduce Morton’s Neuroma pain.
This condition is also known as Intermetatarsal Neuroma, Interdigital Neuroma, Interdigital Neuritis, Plantar Neuroma Etc. Morton’s Neuroma is the thickening of the tissue around the nerve between the 3rd and 4th toes, which causes inflammation of the nerve.
It is a foot condition that occurs as a result of injury to digital nerves between the toes, causing them to swell up.
The swelling may not be readily seen with the naked eye. While the most common location for the neuroma is between the 3rd and 4th toes, other people get the neuroma between their 2nd and 3rd toes.
What Causes Morton’s Neuroma?
There are many causes of these conditions, but the most common one is the pressure applied to the toes by wearing tight-fitting shoes. For women, wearing tight high heels does not help. I got my neuroma from wearing tight heels and walking in them for years without realizing the damage I was causing to my feet. By the time I stopped wearing those, it was too late.
Some people get Morton’s Neuroma in one foot, while others get it on both feet (ouch!).
Symptoms Of Morton’s Neuroma
“If you’ve ever had the feeling of walking around with a rock in your shoe, then might understand the first symptoms of Morton’s neuroma. Often, this condition causes you to feel as if a rock is stuck in your shoe, or something is poking you in the ball of the foot…” Dr. Janet Pearl, M.D.
Wearing closed shoes feels uncomfortable (You feel like removing your shoes and massaging your foot…it helps, by the way).
Pebble-in-shoe or bunched-up sock kind of feeling (Sometimes you are not even wearing socks – remove your shoe only to find no pebble in the shoe!)
Sharp burning – to – almost disabling pain (I remember my first sharp pain very well in my golden pumps…)
Constant unexplained toe cramps, especially after physical activity
How Can You Treat Morton’s Neuroma At Home?
These home treatment options will not necessarily make your neuroma go away for good, but they will help relieve the pain temporarily.
Here they are:
1. Massaging The Painful Area
For me, this is the first thing I do, and I massage my foot daily. Sometimes I fear touching it when it is not paining. But there’s always that little urge to touch it. In the beginning, when the neuroma pain is just starting it is often hard to pinpoint the exact location of the pain.
Especially if you haven’t had a thorough diagnosis by the doctor. Your pain will present as a general, localized ball of foot pain. In this case, you can massage the whole area. It will help ease the pain.
When you know where exactly your neuroma is located, it helps a great deal to touch directly there and massage. My youngest daughter discovered my spot and always helps me when I’m in pain. It is nice to have someone massage you, but you can do it yourself.
Locate your neuroma spot between the toes
Hold it between your index finger and thumb and press gently, repeatedly.
You can even move your fingers back and forth along the length of your neuroma. With this, you may feel what I like to call “sweet pain” because though it is painful, you just want to keep doing it!
A professional foot massage also helps ease the overall pressure off your feet. Please give your feet a treat once in a while and get a masseuse or even a foot spa treatment.
2. Ice Pack / Rub
I usually begin with the first option and then perform an ice pack or ice rub. For the ice pack, I put 5-10 ice cubes in a plastic bag (preferably a freezer bag to avoid leaking). I then place the Ice pack on the painful foot, removing it occasionally to avoid freezing my foot to death!
Alternatively, for the rub, I wrap an ice cube in a thin cloth and rub it gently on my painful spot. It really soothes and reduces the pain considerably.
3. Dip Your Feet In Hot Water
Personally, I prefer this over icing. You will need a foot bath and hot water. How hot the water should really depend on how much heat your feet can tolerate. I use really hot (not scalding) and let my feet soak for 10 minutes before I massage.
I also rub my wet feet with a handful of fine table salt – only the bottom part to avoid salt burn. I know this may sound weird, but it makes my feet feel so relaxed afterward.
4. Try To Rest Your Feet More
This may be hard if your work involves being on your feet all the time. If you can, I suggest you take frequent breaks to ease the pressure off your feet. My work involves occasional walking and that’s the part I dread the most because, at the end of the day, my foot pain is unbearable.
5. Exercise Or Stretching
These should be simple zero impact exercises to avoid stressing your feet even more. This is a simple exercise you can do.
Stand next to a wall, facing towards the wall or anything that can give your hands support.
Place your feet one behind the other in the natural walking position
Lift your hindfoot as if stretching your calf muscle
Hold it on your toes for 5-10 seconds and release
Repeat a few times
Alternate your feet and repeat
Be careful not to put too much pressure on your ball of the foot as this will only make the situation worse
Alternatively, you can simply stretch your toes with your hands in a comfortable sitting position as in the picture:
This is a fairly new technique to me, but I tried it, and it helped me reduce pain. You tape your toes to kind of create a lift or separate your toes to reduce the rubbing together or pressure on the nerve (Neuroma).
Watch this short video to see how exactly to do the taping. Please note that the video is not in English, but the instructions are easy to follow.
Be careful not to tighten the horizontal tape because doing so will only defeat the purpose and actually lead to more pain.
Things To Avoid
Avoid wearing tight-fitting footwear. In fact, throw out all of your cute (or handsome in the case of men) sharp-nosed or toe-crowding shoes.
Don’t overexert your feet doing rigorous activities like running, long-distance walking prolonged standing.
Avoid exercise routines that put too much stress on your feet, like:
Instead, perform low-impact exercises such as stationary bike riding, moderate weight lifting, swimming, yoga, Pilates, and any other low-impact routines.
Remember to seek proper advice from your doctor before engaging in physical exercises. She or he will advise you better on which exercises are most suitable for you, depending on your level of pain and the condition of your neuroma(s).
Living with Morton’s Neuroma can be stressful when it comes to exercise. The thought of not being able to do some of the things you used to do is truly painful. However, you need not despair because it is not the end of your physical activity. There are alternative exercises you can still do.
Granted, things will not be 100 % perfect, but you can still stay fit. I try what I can do within my level of pain tolerance. I know sometimes I tend to get carried away and do impact exercises. My foot gets so painful and I regret it. It is not an easy life. But I keep going, hoping that someday my pain will finally disappear.
My final advice to you is, please don’t push your feet beyond the limits. Do what you can without causing yourself pain. I believe strongly that it will only exacerbate your Neuroma and probably cause you more complications. I know I have pushed myself too hard. Therefore, I have had to suffer serious foot pain as a result. My pain is getting worse by the day.
Most importantly, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
I Write About Morton's Neuroma Because I Have Been Living With This Condition Since 2008. Like Many Women, I Used To Love High Heels For Work And My Mistake Was To Choose And Walk In Narrow Fitting Shoes, Yet I Have Wide Feet. Anyway... I am Here To Share My Experiences From An Experienced Laywoman's Point Of View. Put Away Your Painful Shoes And Walk With Me!