How To Treat Morton’s Neuroma At Home (Tips From My Personal Experience)
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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.
What Is Morton’s Neuroma?
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:
- Jumping jacks
- Step aerobics
- Jump rope
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 wish you a pain-free life.
Thank you so much for writing this thorough and considerately written article. I’ve had this condition and been ignorant of what was happening until it became unbearable. I found a lot of articles on Morton’s but yours was the best, most honest one I found. I appreciate you taking the time to write a “real” article I can relate to. I’m sure many others appreciate you too!! Wishing you relief and happiness!
I’m so happy you liked my post. Thank you for stopping by and posting a comment 😃. I wish you only the best. Take care of your feet.
I am so glad I found your post. I am in my early seventies. Several years ago the arch on my right foot collapsed and as I got older it became more and more painful to walk. My doctor tried a couple of things that didn’t work; so I ended up with an orthotic foot brace that went up to my knee. Unfortunately, that ended up causing the Morton’s neuroma. Again, we tried all the non-surgical treatments, plus I had to give up the brace. Ended up having the surgery last spring; he said the nerve shattered when he touched it. The surgery was several months ago; my foot/toes are better but still extremely sensitive, especially if I hit them. In addition, because of the flat foot my right foot is a half size larger than my left foot. And with the still continuing pain, finding shoes has been a real struggle. I discovered HeyDudes which work really good. I also have some arthritis and my toes, especially on the damaged foot, are now somewhat crooked. The sad thing is, when I was young, I never wore the real high heels or the spike heels. I was a paralegal, but I only wore pumps or heels maybe an inch high. I was not a dancer nor an athlete – nor did I do extreme hiking – mostly just average every walking, etc. I watched the taping video and took notes; I am going to try it. Again, thank you for this.
I’m so sorry to hear all the pain you’re living with. I am glad you found this site helpful. I hope that the toe taping method can help you. I wish you only the best. Please get back and let us know how taping treats you.
Thank you Jane. You kept your advice simple but informative. I have two neuromas 5mm and 6mm in the same foot Ouch and Ouch! Mine formed by my using light compression running socks. The ridiculous pain has driven me to the decision to have cortisol injections. I anticipate a reduction of inflammation. After that I will have custom orthotics made to properly correct my metatarsals position. I presently wear regular orthotics. In the meantime I will massage and ice per your recommendations.
Sorry that you suffer double ouch. sending you a hug. I am happy you appreciate my post. I wish you zero pain. Keep well.
Thanks, Jane, I came home today with my neroma agry and firing. My neroma is from overuse instead of tight shoes, I have always liked bigger toebox shoes and Berkinstocks! I had the neroma cut out, but they grow back unfortunately. I’m massaging with ice. I would add Yoga Toes, toe spreaders, they really help. Start by wearing them for 5 mins and increase the time you wear them slowly. I forget I have them on sometimes. You must be seated to use them. Good luck! – Angele
I hope you’re doing well.
Thanks a bunch for sharing the tips on how to take care of our neuromas. It really sucks that they creep back up even after surgery. I guess all we can do is to try and minimise the pain and discomfort.
I wish you the best.
take care of your feet
Hi, Jane: I found your article practical and helpful. Specifically, I had never heard of the taping technique before and tried it after reading your post and watching the video. So far – three days in – it seems to have helped. My husband and I take a brisk, daily walk with our dog, and recently I was having extreme foot pain after about two miles. I have a high threshold for pain, but this was getting to be too much and I’ve started to look for a specialist to see about the neuroma. Since taping, I’ve taken two walks of over three miles without trouble. I’m going to keep taping for a while to see if the relief is coincidental, but I’m encouraged and grateful for this new treatment method. Thanks very much and best wishes with your own health.
I am happy you liked my post. It makes me happy to know that you got some relief from taping. Keep well and continue taking care of your feet.
Always here for you.
Hi Debra. I searched online to see if neuromas grow back after surgery and your wisdom confirmed my fears and described perfectly the waded up sock or walking on a pebble feeing that I’ve stated to ges 2 1/2 years after my surgery! I’m not sure what to do at this point where it is annoyingly painful, but I appreciate the tips given to find relief. Good luck with your own neuroma.
Im sorry to hear about your pain. At this point, I think it might be a good idea to explore less invasive corrective procedures like Platelet Rich Ablation, I know of The Center for Morton’s Neuroma in Boston. I wish you the best.
My experience is that in my case it is associated with poor liver function. If I over indulge in rich foods high in fats and sugars the condition gradually develops. It will go away with a short period of fasting and avoiding rich/sweet foods that challenge my liver.
This is interesting to know! I wasn’t aware that diet could also affect Morton’s Neuroma. I will definitely have to explore it further. Thank you so much for your eye-opening contribution to this topic.
Please take good care of yourself.