A neuroma is a thickened, benign segment of nerve and can be found in numerous places in the body. The most common neuroma that effects the feet is a Morton’s neuroma. Sometimes called an “intermetarsel neuroma”, because they are found in between the 3rd and 4th metatarsel bones (connecting the ankle bones to your toes). This condition was actually first discovered and described by a chiropodist called Durlacher.
Morton’s neuromas are caused by wearing shoes with tapered (pointy) toes, high heels, high impact exercises and sports like road running, tennis, squash, cricket, fencing and even walking a lot on hard surfaces. These neuromas may also be accompanied by other foot problems like bunions, plantar fasceitis, hammer toes and foot deformities because these things alter the way we walk.
The symptoms of Morton’s neuroma include pain, numbness, tingling, burning sensations and a feeling that you have something pressing against the sole of your foot like a pebble or a bunched up sock inside your shoe. You may feel like there is something uncomfortably pinching inside your foot as you walk and feel like your foot is swelling up when it actually isn’t.
If a Morton’s neuroma gets serious enough it can be immobilising and may even require surgery. The good news is that there are many other, less invasive therapies that can bring relief to this condition.
A frozen drink bottle (with ice in it) can be rolled under your sore feet, Self Massage, stretching, analgesia, anti inflammatories and simple elevation of your feet after a hard day can all be effective in bringing relief to Morton’s neuroma symptoms.
Doctor’s usually prefer to avoid cutting out the offending neuroma out because it can leave you with a numb foot and the resultant scar tissue may create new foot and walking problems. So it is important to get something done about before it gets serious.
I have found toe and foot stretching exercises to be helpful with Morton’s neuromas (see Self Massage book in the ‘Feet and legs’ chapter), if you can keep your foot muscles flexible and supple it can lessen the physical pressure on your neuroma. When your neuroma is feeling sensitive you will need to tie your shoe laces a bit less tightly.
Walking downhill and descending stairs can irritate Morton’s neuroma symptoms too.
Rather than slapping your feet down hard as you walk, roll through your stride from your heel to the ball of your foot, this will stretch your foot fascia as you walk and reduce the impact felt. Walking on grass rather than on pavement can help you too.
Whatever treament you opt for wearing practical rather than impractical footwear is quite important in managing this problem, for women inparticular.