An Overview of Morton’s Neuroma

Despite its name, Morton’s neuroma is not a benign (non-cancerous) nerve tumor, but rather, a “compressive neuropathy; a syndrome of foot and ankle entrapment neuropathies (FAEN). The condition is characterized by the thickening of the tissue surrounding nerves leading to the toes (common digital plantar nerves).

This peripheral nerve impairment from FAENs presents as:

  • Weakness
  • Sensory Deficits
  • Pins and Needles
  • Pain

Keep reading to learn about specific risk factors, causes, symptoms, and treatments for Morton’s neuroma.

About Morton’s Neuroma

Alternative names a podiatrist may use for this condition include:

  • Interdigital Neuritis
  • Interdigital Neuroma
  • Morton Metatarsalgia
  • Plantar Neuroma

The condition is very similar to other common entrapment neuropathies, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, and typically develops in the area between the bases of the foot’s third and fourth toes. Morton’s neuroma may also affect the area between the second and third toes; however, this is less common than the former.

Symptoms You May Experience

Symptoms develop when the common digital plantar nerve becomes trapped against the transverse intermetatarsal ligament, vital supporting connective tissue in the forefoot. Generally, pain or discomfort begins in the ball of the foot but may spread into the toes and varies from person to person.

Additional symptoms include:

  • Persistent Pain (burning or sharp) – ball of the foot
  • Standing on a Marble or Pebble Sensation – during weight-bearing activities
  • [Sprinters] Pain During Training – pushing off starting blocks
  • Improper Shoes – high heels, tight and narrow shoes

Pain can become severe, preventing walking and other weight-bearing activities.

Causes and Risk Factors

Morton’s neuroma is not a rare condition and is about eight times more common in women than in men and mainly impacts individuals ages 30 to 60 years.

Potential risk factors for the nerve entrapment syndrome include:

  • High-Impact Activities – hiking, jogging/running, jumping rope, tennis, etc.
  • Tight-Fitting Sports-Shoes – soccer, skiing, etc.
  • Foot Deformities – bunions, flat feet, high-arched feet, etc.

Treatment Options

Typically, treatment for Morton’s neuroma begins with a non-surgical approach:

  • Altering Your Footwear – avoid high heels and tight and narrow shoes; adopt shoes with a broader toe box, lower heels, and soft, cushioned soles.
  • Orthoticscustom shoe inserts and metatarsal pads or bars for balanced weight distribution and to separate the forefoot bones.
  • Injections (steroid) – corticosteroid injections to reduce swelling and inflammation for pain and discomfort relief.
  • Injections (nerve ablation) – injecting medication to permanently prevent the nerve from producing pain signals.

When non-surgical intervention does not improve a patient’s symptoms, a podiatrist may recommend surgery to (1) remove the afflicted portion of the nerve or (2) release the tissue around the nerve.

Podiatrists consider Morton’s neuroma surgery to be a particularly reliable treatment option, as data demonstrates an 80%-95% success rate.

Schedule with Top Podiatrists to Keep Your Feet Feeling Good

The Foot & Ankle Center specializes in a diverse range of foot and ankle conditions with podiatrists with extensive knowledge in foot deformities, complications from pre-existing health conditions, foot and ankle injuries, and more. Poor foot health significantly impacts people’s quality of life. To schedule a visit, please submit our online form at

You may also reach us by email at and by phone at (314) 487-9300.