What is it?
Morton’s neuroma is a painful condition that affects the ball of your foot, most commonly the area between your third and fourth toes (65% of cases). Morton’s neuroma may feel as if you are standing on a pebble in your shoe or on a fold in your sock.
Morton’s neuroma involves a thickening of the tissue around one of the nerves leading to your toes. This can cause a sharp, burning pain in the ball of your foot. Your toes also may sting, burn or feel numb.
High-heeled shoes, high impact athletic activities and foot deformities have been linked to the development of Morton’s neuroma over time. Many people experience relief by switching to lower heeled shoes with wider toe boxes. Sometimes corticosteroid injections or surgery may be necessary.
Mortons Neuroma is hard to distinguish from other injuries and usually presents in middle aged women. There is no outward signs for this condition, however you may feel the following:
- Tingling or numbness in your toes
- A feeling as if you’re standing on a pebble in your shoe
- A burning pain in the ball of your foot that may radiate into your toes
How can Physiotherapy help?
There is 5 phases to treat this condition:
PHASE I – (Pain Relief) Inflammation is best eased via ice therapy and techniques or exercises that unload the inflammed structures such as ice, electrotherapy, acupuncture, unloading taping techniques, soft tissue massage and orthotics. Analgesics and Anti-inflammatory medications may help.
PHASE II – (ROM) As pain and inflammation settles, treatment is then aimed at restoring normal toe and foot joint range of motion and muscle length through joint mobilisation and alignment techniques, massage, muscle and joint stretches, taping, or orthotics.
PHASE III – (Muscle Control & Strength) Your foot posture muscles are vital to correct the biomechanics that led to the overload injury. Treatment involves prescribing exercises specific to your needs.
PHASE IV – (Function) During this stage of your rehabilitation is aimed at returning you to your desired activities.
PHASE V – (Prevention) Morton’s Neuroma may recur with repeated overload. The main reason is biomechanical. In addition to your muscle control, your physiotherapist will assess your foot biomechanics and may recommend a custom made orthotic.