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Hello and welcome to my Morton’s Neuroma Survival Guide.
This is my survival guide as someone who lives with Morton’s Neuroma. I share with you how I manage my condition. I also share other people’s survival strategies. This guide is not a medical prescription. You don’t have to follow it.
Always seek advice from a trained medical practitioner.
If you have or suspect that you may have Morton’s Neuroma start by seeing a doctor and have a proper diagnosis.
Why Did I Write This Guide?
To help anyone who may be suffering from Morton’s Neuroma discover practical ways to manage the pain and prevent it. You see I have been living with this condition since 2008.
I spent many years not knowing what exactly the problem was with my foot. In the meantime, I was doing all things wrong and unknowingly hurting my foot.
Morton’s Neuroma pain can bee debilitating and depressing at the same time. I wouldn’t wish it for anyone.
What Is A Morton’s Neuroma?
It is a thickened nerve between metatarsal heads, commonly between the third and fourth metatarsals. But it is said that the neuroma can also occur between other metatarsal heads.
The nerve thickens as a result of constant continuous pressure or trauma applied to the ball of the foot. An example would be squeezing your toes inside tight narrow shoes over a long period of time.
Talking about tight shoes, women are indicated to be more prone to developing a neuroma because in most cases their shoes are not only narrow, but they are also high heeled. This adds double pressure to the already squeezed ball of the foot.
Morton’s Neuroma does not occur overnight, it can take many years of your nerve taking the strain. As pressure keeps coming the nerve’s “defense” mechanism is to develop an extra layer of tissue around it, a protective sheath.
As much as that sheath is meant to protect the nerve, it is an unnatural addition which eventually becomes noticeable and uncomfortable on the foot.
That is why on the onset of the neuroma pain you will begin by feeling a bit of discomfort first and then full-blown pain.
What Are The Symptoms Of Morton’s Neuroma?
- The tingling sensation at the ball of the foot
- Burning sensation at the ball of the foot
- Constant unexplained toe cramps
- Sharp burning pain at the ball of the foot which graduates to sharp burning pain between the toes
- The frequent urge to remove your shoes
- Feeling like there’s a pebble in your shoe
- Feeling like you are stepping on a crunched sock
Check out this article for a more detailed account of the signs and symptoms of Morton’s Neuroma
Remember, if you experience any of these symptoms, you need to go to the doctor so that you can get a proper diagnosis. The recommended doctor is a Foot Pain Specialist / Podiatrist.
If you cannot readily access the Podiatrist, seek medical advice from your doctor who may likely make an appropriate referral.
The good news is that even if you can’t find a podiatrist, you can easily take care of your foot pain at home.
Home Treatment For Morton’s Neuroma
Treating Morton’s neuroma at home does not mean that it will get cured, but it is meant to reduce the severity of the symptoms. You could actually live a relatively pain-free life for years, just by self-treating.
It all begins with the type of shoes you wear.
Here are some things you can do at home:
Instead, buy yourself comfortable shoes. Not only narrow shoes are bad for you. There are flat wide open shoes that can hurt your feet because they lack adequate cushioning. Get rid of those too.
Check Out My Most Recommended Shoes For Morton’s Neuroma Here
Specifically For Ladies, Here Is A List Of Dressier Yet Comfortable Shoes
2. Get Yourself Some Metatarsal Pads To Wear With Shoes
Metatarsal pads are small manufactured foot cushions designed to eliminate pressure from the ball of the foot.
These pads are placed on the shoe or directly on the foot (depending on the brand). Ideally, they should sit a few inches behind the ball of the foot. It is advisable to keep adjusting the pad until you achieve that optimal placement where you no longer feel any discomfort.
For More Details On Metatarsal Pads And Which Types To Buy And How To Use Them Read This Article
3. Buy Yourself Some Toe Stretchers
This will help to reduce the pressure between your toes, which is actually the main cause of pain and discomfort.
Toe stretchers come in different designs but the overall purpose is to separate your toes by gradually exercising your foot muscles. The long term effect is that your toes will be more spread out, leaving ample room for your nerves to breathe.
Get More Details On Toe Separators Here
4. Massage And Stretch Your Feet.
Massaging the pain spot gives you instant pain relief. You just have to identify exactly where the pain is between the toes. I use my forefinger and thumb to hold between my third and fourth metatarsals where my neuroma is located.
Then gently press along the length of the toes, from back to front. to make it easy, you might want to apply some sort of lubricant. A pain rubbing ointment would be the best option.
There is that “sweet” spot that when you touch, you will feel the most pain. Surprisingly for me, it always feels like I should keep pressing it despite the pain.
As for the stretching part, you want to do a simple foot stretch to exercise your toe extensor muscles. To do this, hold your forefoot at the top with one hand and gently bend it outwards, back and forth.
When I have a flare-up, usually after a long day at work (some days I walk a lot!) in not-so-forgiving pair of shoes, I would come home and soak my feet in hot water for a few minutes. Then perform the massage and stretching. It works like magic.
5. Ice the pain
When you have a flare-up, you can reduce the pain by placing an icepack on the ball of your foot.
I know this may sound like a weird suggestion but by exercising I mean performing certain routines that help to strengthen your feet and legs.
Here is a list of exercises you can do
- Plantar Fascia stretching
- Calf muscle stretch
- Toe extensor stretch
- Foot roller/ball exercise
- Walking on tiptoes – do this for short intervals at home without shoes, but on a soft surface like a mat
- Walking on heels while your toes point upward – do this for short intervals too and avoid walking on a hard surface.
Can Morton’s Neuroma Go Away On Its Own?
But the symptoms – pain can go away for a long time if you take good care of your feet by wearing the right shoes, using metatarsal pads, toe separators. Anything meant to increase the comfort of your feet will help keep the severe pain away.
What Happens If Morton’s Neuroma Goes Untreated
It gets worse.
If your neuroma goes untreated for a long time and you don’t wear the right shoes, obviously it will get worse. I have experienced what I believe to be the worst symptoms and complications before I took my neuroma seriously.
- Severe pain and tingling radiating from the neuroma up the back of my leg. This would happen after a long walk in uncushioned shoes. So bad that I would literally have to drag my foot as I walk. It feels numb and heavy and terribly painful.
Does Morton’s Neuroma Get Worse
Yes, it does.
That is if you don’t take care of your feet and you keep subjecting them to trauma and unnecessary pressure. The most important thing is to see a doctor and follow through with the treatment regimen.
Medical Treatment For Morton’s Neuroma
There are 2 main treatment options for Morton’s Neuroma: Conservative treatment and Non-conservative.
1. Conservative Treatments For Morton’s Neuroma
Conservative options are meant to make the pain go away without tempering much with the damaged nerve. The non-conservative options such as surgery are meant to remove the damaged nerve completely.
So far, a few ways to deal with Morton’s Neuroma at home, that I have discussed earlier fall under the conservative (self-treatment) option. There are other conservative medical treatments too.
- Steroid injections
- Alcohol sclerosing
- Ultrasound-guided radiofrequency ablation therapy
- Ultrasound-guided cryoablation
- Ultrasound-guided neurolytic injections
- Ultrasound-guided plate-rich plasma injections
- Ultrasound-guided stem cell therapy
Read this article to get more details on these conservative treatments
2. Non-conservative Treatment For Morton’s Neuroma – Morton’s Neuroma Surgery
There are 2 types of surgery.
The first type is Morton’s Neuroma Decompression Surgery. This type of surgery is not meant to remove the neuroma. It is done to release pressure on the neuroma, to sort of give it some “breathing” space.
It is a minimally invasive procedure that can be done in less than 10 minutes and you walk back home. In 3-4 weeks you can resume your normal activities and sports in 8-10 weeks.
The second type is Neurectomy – this procedure is meant to remove the neuroma. Many doctors will usually recommend that you have neurectomy as the very last resort, when all other conservative, minimally invasive treatments have failed.
This is due to complications that usually arise from neurectomy:
- Stump development
- Prolonged healing process
However, there are some people who have reported successful outcomes with neurectomy. So I guess it depends on how well the procedure is done.
I personally am holding neurectomy far in my thoughts. I intend to take great care of my feet and pursue only conservative methods.
I guess time will tell.
Thank you for reading.
I hope you have obtained answers to your questions. Please feel free to share anything in the comments below.
In the meantime, take good care of your feet!