After weeks or months of suffering from pain and tenderness in the ball of your foot, it can be a relief to be diagnosed with Morton's neuroma. Giving your pain a name is an important first step towards alleviating that pain. But just how do you go about treating and managing Morton's neuroma? Generally, your treatment will be overseen by a podiatrist or foot doctor, and they'll employ one or some of the following options.
Orthotic Shoe Inserts
Orthotics are basically inserts that you place inside your shoes to alter the way you stand inside those shoes. The orthotics take pressure off certain areas — in this case, the ball of your foot. Your foot doctor can custom design orthotic inserts to fit your foot and your shoes. Usually, the orthotics will greatly minimize neuroma pain as long as you're wearing them. Sometimes, after wearing orthotics for a few weeks or months, the pain will go away completely. However, you will need to keep wearing the orthotics to keep the pain from returning.
For more serious cases of neuroma, and for cases in which orthotics don't offer much relief, your foot doctor may opt to inject the affected area with cortisone. The shot will go directly into the ball of your foot near the neuroma. It will alleviate inflammation for at least a few months. Sometimes a shot or two of cortisone completely resolves the issue, and other times, it just offers temporary relief.
Nerve Decompression Surgery
If cortisone shots don't give you relief, then the next step is to have nerve decompression surgery. This procedure is typically done under local anesthesia. Through a small incision on the underside of your foot, the surgeon will tease away the inflamed tissue that is pressing on your nerve. Most patients heal and are back on their feet a few weeks later.
This is the most invasive, intensive treatment for Morton's neuroma and is only used when nerve decompression surgery does not work. The surgery is performed under general anesthesia. The entire affected nerve will be removed from your foot, which will put an end to the pain. However, it will also lead to numbness in some specific areas, and recovery can take a few months.
Most cases of Morton's neuroma are treatable with orthotics and cortisone injections. But if these methods do not work, rest assured that surgery tends to be safe and effective. Your doctor will work to determine the best solution for you.
Talk to a foot and ankle specialist for more information.