Learn About Morton Neuroma

What is the definition of Morton Neuroma?

Morton neuroma is an injury to the nerve between the toes that causes thickening and pain. It commonly affects the nerve that travels between the 3rd and 4th toes.

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What are the alternative names for Morton Neuroma?

Morton neuralgia; Morton toe syndrome; Morton entrapment; Metatarsal neuralgia; Plantar neuralgia; Intermetatarsal neuralgia; Interdigital neuroma; Interdigital plantar neuroma; Forefoot neuroma

What are the causes of Morton Neuroma?

The exact cause is unknown. Doctors believe the following may play a role in the development of this condition:

  • Wearing tight shoes and high heels
  • Abnormal positioning of toes
  • Flat feet
  • Forefoot problems, including bunions and hammer toes
  • High foot arches

Morton neuroma is more common in women than in men.

What are the symptoms of Morton Neuroma?

Symptoms may include:

  • Tingling in the space between the 3rd and 4th toes
  • Toe cramping
  • Sharp, shooting, or burning pain in the ball of the foot and sometimes toes
  • Pain that increases when wearing tight shoes, high heels, or pressing on the area
  • Pain that gets worse over time

In rare cases, nerve pain occurs in the space between the 2nd and 3rd toes. This is not a common form of Morton neuroma, but symptoms and treatment are similar.

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What are the current treatments for Morton Neuroma?

Nonsurgical treatment is tried first. Your provider may recommend any of the following:

  • Padding and taping the toe area
  • Shoe inserts (orthotics)
  • Changes to footwear, such as wearing shoes with wider toe boxes or flat heels
  • Anti-inflammatory medicines taken by mouth or injected into the toe area
  • Nerve blocking medicines injected into the toe area
  • Other painkillers
  • Physical therapy

Anti-inflammatories and painkillers are not recommended for long-term treatment.

In some cases, surgery is needed to remove the thickened tissue and inflamed nerve. This helps relieve pain and improve foot function. Numbness after surgery is permanent.

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What is the outlook (prognosis) for Morton Neuroma?

Nonsurgical treatment does not always improve symptoms. Surgery to remove the thickened tissue is successful in most cases.

What are the possible complications of Morton Neuroma?

Complications may include:

  • Difficulty walking
  • Trouble with activities that put pressure on the foot, such as pressing the gas pedal while driving
  • Difficulty wearing certain types of shoes, such as high-heels
When should I contact a medical professional for Morton Neuroma?

Call your provider if you have constant pain or tingling in your foot or toe area.

How do I prevent Morton Neuroma?

Avoid ill-fitting shoes. Wear shoes with a wide toe box or lower heels.

What are the latest Morton Neuroma Clinical Trials?
A Proof-of-Concept Study to Define the Safety, Efficacy and Feasibility of Cryoanalgesia (Iovera°®) for the Treatment of Pain in Subjects With Morton's Neuroma

Summary: This is a Proof-of-Concept Trial to define the safety, efficacy and feasibility of a cryoanalgesic device (iovera°®) for the treatment of pain in subjects diagnosed with Morton's Neuroma, who have failed conservative therapies.

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Radiofrequency Before to Surgical Removal of a Recalcitrant Morton´s Neuroma

Summary: The purpose of this study is to perform a radiofrequency procedure prior to the removal of morton's neuroma. This procedure would be performed to check in which percentage of the nerve ablation has been performed, and whether the current protocol is performed correctly or parts of the nerve remain intact.

What are the Latest Advances for Morton Neuroma?
Common Complaints of the Hands and Feet.
Radiofrequency Ablation for the Treatment of Painful Neuroma.
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Effectiveness of customized insoles in patients with Morton's neuroma: a randomized, controlled, double-blind clinical trial.
Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date: June 13, 2021
Published By: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, San Francisco, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

What are the references for this article ?

McGee DL. Podiatric procedures. In: Roberts JR, Custalow CB, Thomsen TW, eds. Roberts & Hedges' Clinical Procedures in Emergency Medicine and Acute Care. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 51.

Shi GG. Morton's neuroma. In: Frontera WR, Silver JK, Rizzo TD Jr, eds. Essentials of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation: Musculoskeletal Disorders, Pain, and Rehabilitation. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 91.