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Morton's Neuroma

Condition Basics

What is Morton's neuroma?

Morton's neuroma is a swollen or thickened nerve in the ball of your foot. This can happen when your toes are squeezed together too often and for too long. This swelling can make it painful when you walk on that foot. High-heeled, tight, or narrow shoes can make pain worse.

What are the symptoms?

Morton's neuroma can cause a very painful burning or sharp pain in your foot that feels worse when you walk. It may feel like a small lump inside the ball of your foot. It is usually between the third and fourth toes, but it can also be between other toes.

How is it diagnosed?

A doctor can usually diagnose a Morton's neuroma by doing a physical exam and asking about your symptoms. The doctor may also do an ultrasound, X-ray, or MRI to be sure.

How is Morton's neuroma treated?

The nerve swelling may go away with home care. For example, your doctor may advise you to wear shoes with plenty of room for your toes. The doctor also may suggest that you ice the sore spot and limit activities that put pressure on the nerve.

If these steps don't relieve your symptoms, your doctor may have you use special pads or devices that spread the toes. This can help keep them from squeezing the nerve. In some cases, you may get a steroid shot to reduce swelling and pain. If these treatments don't help, your doctor may suggest surgery.


Current as of: July 17, 2023

Author: Healthwise Staff
Clinical Review Board
All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.


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