A Neuroma is a non-cancerous nerve tumor of the foot. Commonly called a Morton’s Neuroma, it is a swelling or an inflammation of the nerve. They are most frequently found between one or more of the metatarsal bones (these are the bones on the front part of the foot that the toes attach to) but can form at other locations of the foot including the heel.
Frequently, a neuroma causes a Burning Pain which is localized around the ball of the foot, and this burning sensation may eventually turn to pins and needles or a shooting type pain may travel into the toes (most commonly the 3rd and 4th toes, and the 2nd and 3rd toes) or through the rest of the foot. A neuroma may also cause numbness, tingling or cramping into the toes or feet. These unpleasant sensations generally occurs while the person is walking with shoes on or standing for a period of time; and may improve or even disappear once the shoes are removed and the painful area is massaged. In more severe cases these discomforts can even radiate up the leg.
The leading cause of neuroma is abnormal function of the foot which improperly causes the metatarsal bones to squeeze or choke the nerve, which cause swelling and inflammation of the nerve to occur. The reason for the abnormal foot motion to start with is typically due to Inheritance. Neuromas can also be caused by improper fitting shoes and injury to the nerve.
Non-surgical treatment for neuroma includes, nerve blocks, padding and strappings, and Physical Therapy which decreases the irritation and swelling of the nerve. Orthotics are also a common treatment. They are custom made inserts for your shoes which accomplish the most important therapy — which is the stabilizing of the metatarsal bones which prevents the choking or irritation of the nerve. Morton’s Toe is a common reason for this choking or irritation. At the Ambulatory Foot Clinic we have available many non-surgical treatments for neuroma that give long lasting relief. Surgery should always be a last resort, but if needed it is done right in the comfort and privacy of our clinic, using state of the art minimal traumatic techniques.
Morton’s Neuroma and the Morton’s Toe
The Story of Two Different Dr. Morton’s
The Neuroma of Dr. Thomas G. Morton – What is a Neuroma?
A neuroma of the foot, (often called Morton’s Neuroma) is an abnormal thickening or swelling of the nerve that runs on the bottom of the foot between the metatarsal bones. This thickening or swelling of the nerve is caused by an irritation to the nerve that takes place over a period of time. This irritation is caused by excessive pressure, motion or trauma to the front part of the foot resulting in shooting and burning pains into the toes or ball of the foot.
Morton’s Neuroma was first written about in the medical journals by Dr. Thomas George Morton in 1875. It is highly unlikely that Dr. Dudley J. Morton ever met Dr. Thomas Morton because Thomas died in 1903, when Dudley Morton was just starting medical school. They were not related. However Morton’s Toe, and Morton’s Neuroma do have a great deal in common, as you will see. In my opinion, the reason this irritation starts is due to a Morton’s Toe.
As I wrote about in my 1982 book, The Agony Of De-Feet, concerning neuroma: “This painful foot condition (Neuroma)is due to a choking off of the nerves that run through the foot. The nerves are choked by the metatarsal bones, which are being improperly squeezed together due to an abnormal motion in the foot, generally (due to) heredity.”
A neuroma is a swollen nerve most commonly caused by the 3rd and 4th metatarsal bone (heads) choking the nerve.I did not realize that over 25 years ago, I was giving my (then) readers the exact description of how a Morton’s Toe could cause a neuroma. The improper squeezing of the medial plantar nerve by the metatarsal bones as described above can be caused by any of the lesser metatarsal bones, but most often by the third and fourth bones.
This opinion is not new. In his 1935 book, The Human Foot, Dr. Dudley J. Morton explained how a Neuroma can occur due to failures of the first metatarsal bone (Morton’s Toe). To learn more about Neuromas, just click on Neuroma-FootCare4u.