A neuroma is a benign tumor of a nerve. Neuromas occur when the tissue surrounding a nerve becomes enlarged and inflamed causing a burning or tingling sensation and cramping in the front of the foot. Tight, poorly-fitting shoes, injury, arthritis, or abnormal bone structure may also cause this condition. Morton’s neuroma is the most common neuroma of the foot and develops when the third and fourth metatarsal bones to pinch together compressing an underlying nerve. It occurs where the nerve passes under the ligament connecting the toe bones (metatarsals) in the forefoot. Neuromas can also occur in other locations. The incidence of Morton’s neuroma is up to 10 times greater in women than in men.
- Sharp pain, aggravated by high heels or pressure on the ball of the foot. Pain does not occur at night
- Burning sensation around toes
- Lack of feeling in the affected area
- Numbness, tingling, or cramping in the forefoot
- Massaging the affected area helps the pain.
- Avoid high heels or tight shoes, and wear wider shoes with lower heels and a soft sole. Roomier shoes (box-toe shoes).
- Pads of various sorts help relieve pain.
- Cortisone injections in the painful area are also helpful.
If these treatments are not effective, the enlarged area may need to be surgically removed. In one long-term study, 85% of patients reported satisfaction as being good to excellent nearly six years after surgery. About 65% were pain-free. Some numbness is common afterward but it rarely bothers patients. Occasionally, the nerve tissue may re-grow and form another neuroma.