Ouch! What the heck is that sharp pain on the ball of my foot? Morton’s Neuroma, also known as a “pinched nerve" is a growth in the nerve tissue that causes acute and severe localized pain, numbness and/or a burning sensation, most commonly on the ball of the foot between the third and fourth toe. This may feel like you are standing on or have stepped on a small and sharp pebble.
Most often, these growths and tumors are benign (harmless), but every so often they are malignant (cancerous). In many instances, pain and other symptoms from benign neuromas will begin to dissipate after a few days of rudimentary treatment: changing of footwear and a decrease in activity that causes and/or agitates the neuroma. If you don’t see an improvement after four days, you should visit your doctor as soon as possible for an assessment to make sure that you aren’t dealing with something potentially hazardous, and to discuss more intensive treatment options.
What Causes Morton's Neuroma?
The most common cause of Morton’s Neuroma are high heels or ill fitting footwear, and women make up the largest demographic of persons affected. Other causes include:
- Anatomical deformities: for example, high arches or flat feet can cause uneven pressure on one area of the foot
- Trauma or injury: resulting in nerve damage or inflammation
- Occupational stress: those who are on their feet all day are at higher risk for Morton's neuroma
If high heels are to blame, sufferers may find relief simply by switching to flats or low heels with a wider toe box. In some cases, medications like corticosteroids can reverse effects and anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen will reduce swelling and decrease pain. In more severe instances, surgery is required to get rid of the neuroma completely. For many of those suffering, relief can be found when footwear is improved. At Best Insoles, we carry specialized insoles that were created to provide relief from Morton's neuroma, like the New Balance IPR3030 Pressure Relief Insoles (for men or women) or the Vionic with Orthaheel Technology, made for high heels and other slim-fitting shoes.