Morton’s Neuroma is a common, painful condition affecting the base of the toes, usually the third and fourth. The pain which is sharp and severe (often described as a ‘red hot needle’) suddenly occurs while walking.

The pain happens because the nerve that divides between the metatarsal bones is irritated or compressed. The cause of this irritation is not exactly known, but it may be the metatarsal bones compressing the nerve when the gap between the bones narrow. This causes the nerve to thicken.

It is rare for more than one nerve to be affected, and usually only affects one foot.

How can we help

Treatment for a Morton’s Neuroma depends on how long you have had the condition and its severity. Identifying the condition in its early stages will help to avoid the need for surgery.

Custom-made orthotics are necessary to provide support for the arches and reduce the pronation stresses on the forefoot. Flexible orthotics, which include specific support for the anterior metatarsal arch, assist in distributing your weight more evenly over the entire foot, relieving the pressure on the ball of the foot.

Anti-inflammatory drugs and a course of steroid injections can also help ease acute pain and inflammation.

Pain can be temporarily relieved by resting the foot and massaging the affected toes. You can make an ice pack by freezing a small bottle of water and roll it over the affected area.

What causes it?

The exact cause of Morton’s Neuroma is not always known, although a number of problems seem to aggravate it:

  • Women tend to suffer from Morton’s Neuroma more than men due to their choice of footwear. High-heeled shoes or shoes with a pointed or tight toe box can compress the toes which leads to Morton’s Neuroma.
  • Conditions such as high-arched, flat foot, a bunion, or a hammer toe. These can all increase the chance of Morton’s Neuroma occurring as they can cause the bones in your feet to rub against a nerve.
  • Sporting activities, such as running or racquet sports, which can put extra pressure on your feet.