How is Morton's neuroma treated?

There are various ways to treat Morton's neuroma, depending on how severe it is.

Self-treatment: Here are some simple steps that may improve symptoms:

  • Wear supportive shoes with a wide toe box. Do not lace the forefoot of the shoe too tightly. Shoes with shock-absorbent soles and proper insoles are recommended.
  • Do not wear tight or pointed-toed shoes or shoes with heels more than 2 inches high.
  • Use over-the-counter shoe pads to relieve pressure.
  • Apply an ice pack to the affected area to reduce pain and swelling.
  • Rest your feet and massage the painful area.

Medications: There are drugs that may temporarily relieve the pain and other symptoms of Morton's neuroma. You should not use these medications for a long time.

  • Corticosteroid injection (shot).
  • Alcohol sclerosing injections.
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen or aspirin, may be taken orally (by mouth) to reduce pain and inflammation. Anti-inflammatory drugs can also be given by direct injection into the skin.
  • Local anesthetic: An anesthetic injection will temporarily relieve pain by numbing the affected nerve.

Orthotics: These are custom-designed shoe inserts that can reduce some of the pain of Morton's neuroma. Often a metatarsal pad is placed on your foot insole or shoe insole to offload (take the pressure off) the painful nerve.

Surgery: When medications or other treatments do not work, foot surgery may be needed. The most common surgical procedure for treating Morton's neuroma is a neurectomy, in which part of the nerve tissue is removed.

A procedure that may be performed before a neurectomy, or in place of a neurectomy, is called cryogenic neuroablation therapy. During this procedure, extremely cold temperatures are applied to the nerves to destroy nerve cells and the myelin sheath that covers the nerve. The temperatures used in cryosurgery range from -50 degrees to -70 degrees Celsius. Patients who have cryogenic neuroablation are less likely to see symptoms return.

Surgery is effective in relieving or reducing symptoms of Morton's neuroma in about 75% to 85% of all cases.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/02/2016.

References

  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Morton's Neuroma Accessed 3/3/2016.
  • Jenkin WM. Chapter 7. Approach to the Patient with Ankle & Foot Pain. In: Imboden JB, Hellmann DB, Stone JH, eds. CURRENT Rheumatology Diagnosis Treatment. 2nd ed. New York: McGraw-Hill; 2007.
  • American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. Morton's Neuroma (Intermetatarsal Neuroma)Accessed 3/3/2016.

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