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Morton’s (intermetatarsal) Neuroma

What is a Morton’s Neuroma?

A Morton’s or intermetatarsal neuroma is pain from the nerves that pass between the bones that join onto your toes. The pain is caused by a combination of irritation of the nerve, scar tissue that develops around the nerve, and inflammation and swelling of the bursa. Therefore causing the nerve to become compressed making it unable to move freely.

What causes Morton’s neuroma?

Morton’s neuroma is commonly caused by excessive loading to the metatarsals. This condition is commonly associated with narrow fitting shoes and high heels. It is usually seen in woman aged 40-60 years old.

How do I know if I have a Morton’s neuroma?

Since this condition causes pain between the metatarsal bones of the foot with weight-bearing, it can often feel like the pain ‘shoots’ down into the toes and sometimes can feel like burning or tingling or even numbness. Your physiotherapist will be able to diagnose you through asking you questions and examining your foot posture and footwear. It is important that you are carefully diagnosed as there is a number of other conditions that may cause you this pain.

How can physiotherapy help with a Morton’s neuroma?

Your physiotherapist will be able to help with Morton’s Neuroma by:

  • Investigating what is mainly causing you pain and then make modification where possible
  • Asking you to avoid weight bearing activities for a short period of time.
  • Providing you will strengthening foot muscle exercises
  • Taping your foot or prescribing an orthotic to help with pain

If treatment is more effective it may be necessary to consider a surgical review.

What can I do at home?

  • You should avoid aggravating activities for a short period as this may help reduce pain.
  • Ice over the painful area may also help reduce pain. may be helpful for your pain.
  • Wearing shoes with a wide toebox and avoiding narrow shoes is advisable.
  • Complete prescribed exercises.

How long will my recovery be?

Your recovery time depends on the severity of the case. For mild cases, this condition may resolve within 1–2 months whilst more severe cases could require injections and approximately 6 months for complete resolution. It may be necessary to have surgery, this is very uncommon.  

If you would like to find out more please call us or book an appointment here.

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Reference: Australian Physiotherapy Association 2019, Your Body, viewed 19 November 2019, < https://australian.physio/>.