What is Morton’s Neuroma?
Morton’s Neuroma of the foot is a common problem that results in swelling and inflammation of the nerves.
This condition can present gradually, or rapidly when associated with trauma. Once the pain begins, it will progress. The pain is related to the amount of time you spend walking and standing.
What Causes Morton’s Neuroma?
The cause of the inflammation is constant grinding on the nerve as you walk. This results in a progressive enlargement and swelling of the nerve. Over time, the inflammation and swelling around the nerve gradually increases, and collagen is deposited, creating scar tissue around the nerve fibers.
Because nerve fibers are traumatized every time we stand, walk and run, the real cause of neuromas persists. The progression of this condition, over time, results in other foot conditions.
Symptoms of Morton’s Neuroma
Common symptoms of Morton’s Neuroma include:
- Feeling as a bunched up sock
- Numbness or a buzzing sensation
- Sharp burning pain during excessive activity
- Shooting “electrical” pain
In the early stages of Morton’s Neuroma, the symptoms are numbness or a wadded up sock feeling in the ball of your foot. Eventually, the burning becomes more frequent and more intense.
In the end stages, generally after years of symptoms, the patient reports constant disabling pain with every step.
How Doctors Diagnose Morton’s Neuroma?
Only well-advanced Morton’s Neuromas will show up on an MRI and you require some experience and skill to identify them when they become as big as the end of your small finger.
The classic “click” or Mulders sign that is felt when the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th metatarsals are compressed during diagnosis. When performed, the patient would express extreme displeasure, pull their foot away, and tell the physician not to do that again.
Treating and Managing Morton’s Neuroma
Self-Treatment Options to Improve Symptoms
- Decrease the compression by wearing 1-2 size bigger shoes to decrease the compression.
- Add arch support by wearing shoes such as Birkenstocks, Orthoheels, Vionics, or both custom and over the counter orthotics.
- Decrease or eliminate weight-bearing activities.
- Avoid hard-walking surfaces to control the nerve pain and mitigate the symptoms.
Advanced Treatment Options
Steroid Injections: Cortisone injections into the Morton’s Neuroma are the first line of treatment recommended by physicians. Because cortisone injections mask the inflammation and pain, they are rarely if ever, a permanent option in the treatment of Morton’s Neuroma.
Medication: Anti-Inflammatory medication can be helpful in the early stages of this progressive condition but falls way short of the help required as it advances over time. Prednisone dose packs can provide noticeable relief in moderate to advanced cases. The common side effects of pain meds often only complicate the problem.
Physical Therapy: Because many physical therapy modalities will help reduce inflammation they can be a helpful treatment option for Morton’s Neuroma. However, PT does not treat the cause of the inflammation, that occurs as we walk, frequent treatments are necessary with diminishing results.
Alcohol Injections: This treatment is an unpredictable attempt to ablate the intermetatarsal nerve, and stop the pain. There is minimal to no guarantee that after as many as 10 painful injections, any or all of the nerve will be ablated. What is also not clear is how much damage to the good tissue is done by this toxic chemical.
Surgery: Surgical excision is the most definitive ablative treatment option for Morton’s Neuroma. Short and long term benefits of all surgical procedures are not well documented. What is certain is that, over time, if the surgery procedure used by your surgeon WORKS PERFECTLY, overall and long term it will fail.
Do Theta Orthotics work for Morton’s neuroma?
Thirty-five years ago I developed a neuroma. Knowing the devastating outcome long term of this painful condition of the inter-metatarsal nerves, I was intent on finding help and to avoiding neuroma surgery.
It took me 4-5 years but I identified the design properties of any support/orthotic responsible for the desired changes in our gait.
Not only did I learn how to improve the benefits of custom orthotics, but I quantified the design. I learned that every time I increased the angular correction by 5 degrees that I doubled the benefits of the device.
I learned that if I got the correction high enough I could STOP the progressive pain associated with Morton’s Neuroma. The increased correction provided does work for Morton’s Neuroma.
Over the last 35 years, I have treated over 14 thousand neuroma patients without surgery. I have treated patients in the early stages and the advanced stages with this improved angular design.
I have treated patients who have tried every treatment available, including multiple failed surgeries.
Once I learned how to improve the way orthotics work significantly, it put me out of business as a neuroma surgeon. Orthotics do treat the cause of Morton’s neuroma, and when they control foot function enough to stop the progressive nerve pain.
Do not consent to surgery, do not accept the pain, and do not eliminate activities that are important for a healthy lifestyle.
Frequently Asked Questions
When Should I Seek Treatment?
The point at which you consult a doctor for Morton’s Neuroma pain is a personal choice dependent upon your level of comfort in seeking help. Unfortunately, when caught early, the diagnosis is more difficult and less obvious.
Other conditions like stress fractures, arthritis, plantar plate tears, capsulitis, tendonitis, and Morton’s Neuroma are all grouped into a common diagnosis called metatarsalgia.
It doesn’t matter if you catch this condition early or late, if you remain active the condition will worsen over time and fail to respond to both conservative and invasive techniques.
To complicate the issue further, some doctors do not like to make the diagnosis of Morton’s Neuroma. Both the physician and the insurance companies see red flags when making a Morton’s Neuroma diagnosis.
Why can Theta Orthotics stop pain from Morton’s Neuroma and other arch supports and orthotics can not?
All orthotics attempt to supinate or hold a foot in a supinated position during function. Other orthotics and arch supports do not supinate the foot enough to stop the progression of Morton’s Neuroma and healing can not take place.
Theta Orthotics use a progressive treatment to stop the pain whether your neuroma is in one or both feet. Whether you have tried conservative treatments or if you have had failed surgery. Theta Orthotics can stop the pain when every other treatment for Morton’s Neuroma has failed.
Can foot trauma cause Morton’s Neuroma?
A significant number of patients get their first real symptoms of an acute Morton’s Neuroma following some form of trauma to the foot. Trauma that involved a laceration of that same web space, heavy objects dropped on the top of the foot, impact from a fall, or the most common bedroom fractures (5th toe).
The trauma creates swelling that spreads throughout the ball of the foot. This swelling compresses the beginnings of an asymptomatic neuroma and can awaken it in full glory quickly.
Most patients believe the trauma caused the neuroma, but if that were the case, it would heal up as the trauma healed. The trauma did not cause the neuroma, but it precipitated it. It pushed it over the edge and it was obvious and progress in spite of proper treatment.
Can you get more than one Morton’s Neuroma?
If you ask many foot specialists they will tell you no. Frequently, when they are preparing a patient for surgery, they will forget to mention that the patient will grow more neuromas. They forget to say that a percentage of neuromas will re-grow, or enlarge as a Stump Neuroma.
They rarely tell the patient that it is common to get a neuroma in two web spaces in each foot. The fact is, when the cause of the problem is not addressed, you will just grow more neuromas. When every step you take damages the nerve, even perfect surgery fails, as you will grow more neuromas.
Contrary to the opinion of many physicians and surgeons, multiple Neuromas in both feet are common. This is why Theta research centers on a surgical alternative.
Can neuromas grow back after surgery?
Can Neuromas can grow back? Yes. Can you grow more neuromas? Yes In both feet? YES.
After treating more than 14,000 neuroma patients, many of whom have experienced multiple surgeries in an attempt to relieve their pain, I’ve noticed that re-growth, stump neuromas, and new neuromas in the adjacent interspace or other foot are common.
Fifty percent of my patients tell me they have the condition in just one foot, the other fifty percent tell me it started in one foot but is now in both feet. You can grow more neuromas, and neuromas can grow back following surgery.
Unfortunately, surgical excision, even when performed correctly, fails to resolve the underlying cause of the neuroma. The constant damage to the nerves, unresolved by surgery and generated with every step you take, will create a similar condition in another or same area.
Often the remaining portion of the nerve, now surrounded by scar tissue is subjected to the same forces that caused the original neuroma. The result is what is referred to as a stump neuroma. This condition is generally far more symptomatic than the original neuroma.
Additionally, and more common than a stump neuroma, is the production of another neuroma in an adjacent interspace or the other foot. Patients report symptoms of another neuroma on their first postoperative visit. The swelling, tight bandages, and stress placed on the non-surgical foot causes neuroma symptoms in other areas by the first postoperative visit.
Our Morton’s Neuroma Success Stories
Most Morton’s Neuroma sufferers who call are looking for a non-invasive treatment that will help them avoid surgery. Hear what these patients have to say about how Theta Orthotics offered the non-surgical solution they needed to put an end to their Morton’s Neuroma pain:
”I am 74 and have been using Theta-Orthotics for 10 years.
I was experiencing terrible pain off and on for five years due to Morton’s neuroma. I saw two podiatrists. One gave me a shot. The other one fitted me for expensive custom orthotics. I still felt like my feet were walking on hot coals. I considered surgery, but was informed that sometimes this only results in a different nerve becoming inflamed. I came upon Theta-Orthotics via an Internet search and figured, “what do I have to lose.”
Because the Theta Orthotics provide a great deal of arch uplift, you need to gradually work up to your ideal strength. This took me about 3-4 months. But I began to notice substantial improvement even with my “break-in” prescription.
After about six months, all of my neuroma pain went away, and I have been using my Theta Orthotics ever since – in my street shoes, my golf shoes, my tennis shoes, you name it. By restoring my arch to its original configuration, I went from wearing 12 EEEE shoes back to my original size of 10 ½ EE.
You’d think other companies or podiatrists would be copying Dr. Jarrett’s approach, but I haven’t seen any orthotics like his. If you are experiencing Morton’s neuroma his orthotics are a godsend.
”Dear Dr Jarrett.
I want to share my testimonial. My podiatrist had been giving me steroid injections for the neuromas in both my feet. The pain kept getting worse. He said, he could only administer a limited number of injections. I would eventually need surgery. But that was before I found your website and purchased your orthotic inserts. They have been life changing, when I wear them I have no pain. It has been 3 yrs now and I have not had surgery. Dr. Jarret, I can’t thank you enough for developing these inserts.
”Hi I bought orthotics a few years ago. I have Morton’s Neuroma tried the foot Dr. had 6 cortisone shots did nothing I saw an ad for orthotics had them made immediately when I put them in my shoes the pain was gone. Best thing I ever ordered. Thank you Theta orthotics.
I wanted to give you an update on my progress. I recently moved up to the 27-5, and adjusting to it very well.
I’ve not had any more pain due to Morton’s Neuroma.
I love my insoles and I’m very pleased with the success I’ve had! I’ve given your website info to my doctor.
If I could make a suggestion, I wish I could wear flip flops/ sandals again. Maybe you could design and produce some? Just some food for thought.
”I had been feeling numbness in my toes that turned into pain when hiking, and was diagnosed with a neuroma. After trying other orthotics and treatments that just didn’t work, I discovered Theta Orthotics. After several months of faithfully wearing the Theta Orthotic inserts, I am able to hike again. Last month I hiked the 192 mile Coast to Coast trail in Northern England, pain free. I couldn’t be happier with the results.
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