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Morton’s Neuroma: Walking With a Constant Pebble in Your Shoes

Published: September 6, 2019

Last modified: September 3, 2019

Do you feel like you’re walking on a pebble? Do you experience a numbing, tingling, burning sensation or sharp pain in your foot and have to take off your shoes to rub it for relief? Does the pain radiate from the ball of your foot to your toes?

If you answered yes to the above questions, you may have what is called an intermetatarsal neuroma. An intermetatarsal neuroma is a type of nerve compression syndrome which involves the nerves located at the base of the lesser toes. Irritation of the nerve at this location causes the nerve to enlarge or swell making it more vulnerable to compressive stresses. Persistent compression results in localized pain, which radiates to the toes when wearing shoes or walking.

The most common nerve to be affected is the nerve found at the ball of the foot between the 3rd and 4th toes at the 3rd web space. This nerve is naturally thicker than the rest putting it at higher risk of developing a neuroma. A neuroma at this specific location on the foot is called a Morton’s Neuroma.

What causes a Neuroma?

It is very likely that the cause of your neuroma is poor foot mechanics, the most common one being overpronation.

Overpronation is the involuntary act of rolling the ankles towards the arches as one walks. As the foot pronates more than it should, the metatarsals also move more than they should, leading to compression and subsequent irritation of the nerves, resulting in pain and inflammation.

The goal of treatment is to remove pressures from the area of concern, allow the nerve to heal, and prevent future incidences of discomfort.

Your Chiropodist may recommend a custom made foot orthotic which corrects poor foot mechanics and controls pronation. The orthotic will likely include special additions such as a metatarsal dome pad, which helps to remove pressures from the nerves by splaying the metatarsal bones.

For more immediate relief, you can try over-the-counter metatarsal dome pads and add them to the insoles of your shoes.

Wearing wider shoes with a wide toe box and a low heel will help to manage your pain and prevent exacerbation of symptoms.

Both pads and a variety of footwear options are available for purchase at Feet First Clinic.

If you think you may have a neuroma, book an appointment with one of our Licensed Chiropodists today!

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You do not need a referral to become a patient at our foot clinic. Schedule an appointment by using the Appointment Request form below or contact the clinic at 416-769-FEET(3338).