Written with contributions from Superfeet Wellness Experts and the Superfeet education team.
For most people, strolling down the street is a simple, painless act. Unfortunately, those with foot issues may find even a short walk agonizing and difficult to complete. A foot neuroma, also known as Morton's neuroma, is a common affliction that can cause serious discomfort, and yet many people don't know what it is. If you are experiencing pain in your toes or the balls of your feet, you may be suffering from this condition.
What is a Morton's Neuroma?
A Morton's neuroma can be either a pinched nerve or a thickening of the tissue around a nerve, usually between the third and fourth toe, causing pain and numbness. Although some men suffer from this condition, the majority of patients are women, in part due to footwear choices. Although neuromas are generally not considered serious, they can greatly limit mobility and so need to be treated.
Symptoms of a Morton's Neuroma
Neuromas cause pain and/or numbness while you are walking or otherwise engaged in physical activity. The discomfort is usually located near the toes or on the ball of the feet. Some sufferers feel as if they have a rock or marble in their shoe and will pause to remove their footwear and rub the sore spot. There may also be visible swelling between the affected toes.
Causes of a Morton's Neuroma
Some experts believe that neuromas may be caused by other foot problems, including flat feet, high arches and bunions. Any sport that puts pressure on the foot may also contribute to the development of a neuroma, so runners can be susceptible to this ailment. Wearing high heels may be the biggest factor in the development of neuromas. High heels shift the wearer's weight forward, putting excess pressure on the toes and balls of the feet. This pressure sometimes results in nerve issues. This cause would also explain why so many women develop this condition. In fact, any type of ill-fitting shoes can lead to the development of a neuroma.
Treatments for a Morton's Neuroma
Once your doctor has diagnosed a neuroma, often using a variety of tests, they will prescribe various treatments. Icing the affected area may reduce the pain and swelling in the foot. Some OTC medications may help, including ibuprofen. Your doctor may also urge you to reduce your physical activity until your condition improves. In more extreme cases, the neuroma may be treated by cortisone injections or even surgery.
Superfeet Help for a Morton's Neuroma
Doctors recommend that sufferers wear shoes with heel no higher than two inches. Shoes should have a room toe box and either have built in support, or added support through the addition of an insole, like Superfeet. The orthotic shape of Superfeet cradles the foot and can help redistribute pressure, giving your forefoot some relief. If you must wear heels, be sure to wear shoe inserts designed especially for high-heeled footwear.
Neuromas can keep you off of your feet and out of action. If you are suffering from toe pain, numbness or swelling, visit your doctor for a diagnosis. Then follow their treatment prescriptions, including using insoles and wearing foot-friendly shoes.