Do you keep feeling like there is a pebble inside your shoe, but every time you reach down to check, you never find a pebble? If the sensation is occurring in your forefoot, right behind the area where your toes tie into your foot, you might have a condition known as Morton's neuroma. This is a bothersome problem, but it is one that a podiatrist can certainly help you with. Keep reading to learn more about the condition, what causes it, and how you can manage the discomfort it's causing.
What is Morton's neuroma?
The term "neuroma" refers to a growth or swelling around a nerve. In the case of Morton's neuroma, the swelling occurs around a nerve that leads from your foot into your toes. The neuroma is benign; in other words, it is not cancerous. However, since it does constrict the nerve, you feel its presence. In mild to moderate cases, you really only notice the neuroma is there when you step on it. In more severe cases, you may feel a fullness or pebble sensation in your foot even when you're not stepping on it.
What causes Morton's neuroma?
The primary cause of Morton's neuroma is irritation of the nerve that the neuroma has formed around. There are many possible causes of this irritation. Wearing high heels or other shoes that cause you to stand primarily on your forefoot can be a factor, especially if those shoes compress your toes together. Playing sports that have you standing on your forefoot can also contribute, as can athletic activities like rock climbing and snowboarding. Some people are more prone to Morton's neuroma than others based on the way their feet are structured.
What can be done to treat Morton's neuroma?
If you visit a podiatrist, they will generally start with conservative therapies. These may include wearing shoe inserts to take pressure off your forefoot and icing your foot to relieve the inflammation. If these practices don't bring relief within a few weeks, the podiatrist can give you a cortisone injection in the affected area in order to reduce the inflammation. Most patients respond well to these injections. However, in the most severe of cases, your podiatrist may recommend surgery to remove the swollen tissue from around the nerve. This surgery is very effective but is usually seen as a last resort because it does come with a significant recovery time.
If you feel like you're stepping on a pebble, see a podiatrist. Chances are, you have Morton's neuroma.
Your feet might not seem like an important part of your personal health and wellness routine, but you would be hard-pressed to work out without them. Unfortunately, many people overlook their foot health, only to end up suffering from debilitating bunions and painful ingrown toenails. A few years ago, I ignored a cut on my foot which eventually turned into a full-blown infection. After a near-amputation, I realized that I needed to start focusing on my whole body. I know that if you can start focusing on your foot health, you can avoid troubling conditions so that you can enjoy your life.