Overview

Morton’s neuroma is an enlarged nerve that most often develops between the long bones of the third and fourth toes. The painful condition is more common in women than men.

Anatomy
The nerves in the forefoot supply feeling to the toes.

The Problem
If a plantar nerve is repeatedly compressed or pinched between the bones and ligament, it gets irritated and swollen. If left untreated, this may lead to permanent nerve damage.

Common Causes
Narrow-toed or high-heeled shoes, foot abnormalities or repetitive sports injuries to the ball of the foot, most commonly cause the condition.

Symptoms
Common symptoms include a burning pain in the ball of the foot that may radiate out to the toes, tingling, numbness, a popping sensation while walking, and the feeling that there is something inside the shoe beneath the ball of the foot.

Treatment
Non-surgical treatments include changing shoes (wide toe box and low heels recommended), using padded shoe inserts and avoiding activities that cause pain. Cortisone injections may also help. Surgery may be necessary if other treatments fail to relieve the pain.