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Dr. Harvey R. Danciger

Morton’s Neuroma: Ball of Your Foot Got You Bawling?

Nerve painPain in the ball of your foot can put a damper on your daily activities, to say the least! If every time you step, you feel a sharp or burning pain that nearly brings you to tears, it makes doing just about anything tough. So what’s behind your painful problem? Well, one likely culprit is a condition known as Morton’s neuroma.

Morton’s M.O.

This condition is characterized by sharp or burning pain in the ball of your foot, as well as stinging, burning, and numbness in your toes. Most commonly it occurs between the third and fourth digits, but it can affect others as well. People often report feeling like there is an invisible pebble in their shoe or that their sock is bunched up even though it actually isn’t. Symptoms worsen with activity and can eventually get to the point where simply wearing shoes is unbearable. Why is this happening? You can blame your family for one!

What’s Causing You to Cringe?

Morton’s neuroma is a thickening of the tissue surrounding a nerve that leads to your toes. This inflamed tissue squeezes the nerve causing the painful symptoms. If foot deformities like bunions, high or low arches, or hammertoes run in your family, you are at a higher risk of developing this condition. These inherited traits result in excessive pressure on the balls of your feet and toes. Your parents aren’t the only ones that could be to blame, however.  

Certain sports can lend to an aggravating injury, irritation or pressure on the nerve as well. High-impact, repetitive activities like running and those involving tight shoes like rock climbing or skiing – all popular activities around here – can make you prone to Morton’s neuroma. In addition, tight, narrow, and high-heeled shoes squish your toes and place your foot in an abnormal position, which can compress and pinch the nerve even further, resulting in exacerbated symptoms.

Wipe Away the Pain

Nerve pain and other symptoms of Morton’s neuroma can be eased by taking a break from activities and applying ice to the affected area. If you don’t want to rest completely, try low-impact options that don’t involve pushing off with your toes such as swimming.

Anti-inflammatory medication or injections can also help to minimize swelling and decrease discomfort. A switch in shoes will help immensely as well. Choose footwear that offers plenty of wiggle room for toes and a low enough heel to keep your feet in a more natural position. Custom orthotics can deliver even more relief by redistributing pressure away from the area and providing additional support and cushion where it’s needed most. If these conservative measures aren’t enough to give you the results you need to live a full and active life without pain, surgery to decompress the nerve may be necessary to return to the lifestyle you love.

If you are experiencing pain in the ball of your foot, or numbness in your toes, you may very well be suffering from Morton’s neuroma. Dr. Harvey Danciger can help. Call (760) 568-0108 for an appointment at our Palm Desert, CA office and we will get you on the road to recovery and back to your normal activities in no time!


Dr. Harvey Danciger
Dr. Harvey Danciger is a podiatrist and foot surgeon in Palm Desert, CA specializing in the foot and ankle