Imagine the last time your foot fell asleep, or you bumped your funny bone. The burning, tingling sensation you felt is the result of pinching or compressing a nerve. It’s an unpleasant sensation that most people are glad to get rid of. Now imagine if you had that burning, tingling ache in the ball of your foot whenever you took a step. This uncomfortable situation is possible—anyone who suffers with Morton’s neuroma is familiar with the pain.
Morton’s neuroma is a sensitive, swollen, irritated section of nervous tissue in the ball of the foot, between two metatarsal heads. Typically the nerve between the third and fourth toes is the one that’s affected. Nerves are sensitive tissues, and react to any kind of irritation, pinching, or compression.
When they are injured, they misfire and cause pain around the damage—and possibly in other places the tissue touches, too. You develop a burning, pins-and-needles sensation around the neuroma that may radiate into the toes. Sometimes you experience numbness or lose your sensitivity to touch in those places as well. Some people also feel like they are standing on a stone. As the neuroma gets worse, your ball of the foot and toe pain will increase.
How You Pinch Your Nerve
Anything that squeezes or compresses your forefoot can help create Morton’s neuroma. Shoes are the most common culprit. Footwear that is too narrow or has a tapered, pointed toe box pinches the toe bones and metatarsals together, potentially squishing the nerves between them.
High heels can be problems, too—they force your body weight forward onto the ball of your foot, often crunching your toes into the front of the shoe and putting too much weight on your metatarsal heads. Preexisting conditions like bunions, flatfoot, and hammertoes can play a role as well. They can change the biomechanics of your feet and compress the nerves.
Alleviating the Pressure on the Nerve
Dr. Noah Levine will need to examine your lower limbs to diagnose your Morton’s neuroma and determine the best treatment for your pain. Pressing on different points of your foot and other tests will identify the problem. Occasionally imaging tests are used to confirm the condition. Then we can help you begin treatment.
Conservative care is always the first option. Often relieving the pressure on the nerve alleviates the pain. Pads under the uncomfortable spot cushion the area and may decrease some of the pinching. Orthotic devices can add some padding, too, as well as correct biomechanical issues that might have contributed to the problem. You might need to make some shoe changes. Avoid all models with narrow, pointed toe boxes; instead, stick to styles with wide, cushioned soles.
You might need to cut back on hard impact activities while you heal as well. If your pain is persistent, we might recommend anti-inflammatory medications or direct injections. If your foot isn’t responding to conservative care, you might need surgery to decompress or completely remove the damaged nerve.
You don’t have to suffer with nerve pain. The sooner you address your condition, the sooner you can get relief. Don’t wait until your only option is to have surgery. Let Absolute Foot Care Specialists help you deal with your toe pain today. Contact our Las Vegas offices for more information or an appointment. You can call directly at (702) 839- 2010 or use our web request form to reach us.