Mortons neuroma

A benign Mortons neuroma may be caused by an irritation of one or more of the nerves that run between the five small bones in the forefoot; they connect your mid area to the toes.

Tingling and a numb feeling is the hallmark and there may well be pain too.

What causes this inflammation? There are seemingly many possibilities.

  1. Obesity is one of them; simply put, more weight on the bones of the forefoot than they were designed to carry. It is mysterious; why do folk choose pain and disability over losing twenty or more pounds? I too don't get it.
  2. Old injuries to the foot and ankle is a common cause, changing the gait. Possibly they were not properly cared for, or simply serious sprains or fractures that must surely leave their mark.
  3. Wearing tight fitting, pointed shoes is a common cause, particularly in those who choose fashion over comfort; in Holland we call them pumps. They put pressure on the metatarsals, forcing them too close together, and irritating the interdigital nerves.
  4. High heeled shoes tip more weight onto the forefoot and are more likely to cause Mortons neuromas. Here there is no simple answer as some women claim, probably justifiably, that they have less back pain when stylishly shod. Having said that, it's time for some research into the matter; if you feel better about yourself do you have less back pain? Is it purely psychosomatic or real?

  • Almost invariably, the toes jut upwards, callus forms under the ball of the foot, and a Morton's neuroma is the end result.
  • In practice one finds sunken arches and fixations of the little bones in the foot; often the cuboid and one of the cuneiforms is not moving properly.
  • Muscle weakness and overly tight plantar fascia are part of the syndrome; the foot is complex.

Yes, of course, Morton's Neuroma, with an apostrophe; the net doesn't like the poor little misunderstood apostrophe. Foot pain with a capital F. There IS a difference between Morton's neuroma and Mortons' neuroma, and no apostrophe at all.

  • Chiropractic Conditions is a central page at Chiropractic Help. It provides you simply and easily with the sorts of conditions that the average chiropractor would be treating.
  • Healthy Living Tips is another vital page at Chiropractic Help. Sparkling good health is not just about having your subluxations adjusted. Our healthy living tips page gives you some insights into different foods you could and perhaps should be eating.

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Symptoms of Mortons neuroma

Morton's neuromas hurt, and sometimes they hurt a lot. Nerves are the most sensitive tissue in the body, and nerve pain is one of the worst. Walking may become very difficult; chiropractic treatment of the foot is your first port of call but we don't always win.  

You may experience

  • Tingling
  • Pain in the toes and forefoot
  • A burning sensation
  • Ultimately it leads on to numbness that may need to be distinguished from a polyneuropathy and diabetes.
  • A feeling that there is something in the ball of the foot; like a stone in your shoe. Indeed there may be a Morton's neuroma. See the nerve swelling in red in this picture above?

As in all conditions, your doctor of chiropractic will look for the cause, rather than focus on the symptoms. It will probably be in the foot, but yes it could be as remote as the sacroiliac joint. It is only very rarely, and perhaps never, that surgery is needed. It is not often that management of Morton's neuroma fails. I confess to having no research at hand, but I love to treat this condition.

Treatment includes inter alia:

  1. Adjustment of the fixated joints. This may be painful, particularly the metatarsal phalangeal areas of the toes.
  2. Mobilisation of the metatarsals.
  3. Adjustment of the tarsal bone fixations, most frequently one of the cuneiforms and cuboid.
  4. Stripping of the plantar fascia.
  5. Rehabilitation exercises.
  6. Orthotics may sometimes help; I confess to having little faith in them but some folk swear by them. It's a real art to making the right fit. 
  7. Carefully checking the achilles tendon and particularly the soleus, but frankly all the muscles in the lower leg and foot.


Pain under the ball of the foot, due to a dropped transverse arch, goes hand in hand with a Morton's neuroma. The key sign is build up of thick skin under the ball of the foot. Read more about Metatarsalgia … FOOT PAIN

Ankle joint pain casefile

This lady fell when she was twenty five years old, and fractured her ankle badly. Few things can beat a Dutch staircase when it comes to danger. Despite five operations she was only able to walk on her toes when she first consulted me some ten years later. The consequences of the injury, perhaps aggravated by all the surgery, was the osteonecrosis or bone death seen in the talus and calcaneus and severe Mortons neuroma pain in the forefoot.

This scan was taken five years after the fall. Can chiropractic manage such a severe injury? Read more about this at ankle joint pain casefile.

I must say that I have little specific nutritionally to say about a Mortons neuroma except that it is a neurological condition so the B complex are vital. Do you know the story of the discovery of vitamins? In fact it was thiamine that was first found.

It's a fascinating read; the long and the short of it is don't eat white rice; the rich man and his chickens got beriberi, but the poor man and his family could only afford brown rice and never suffered from the disease.

The key was their chickens; some very smart doctors noticed that their birds remained healthy too.

Whole grains, nuts and green leafy vegetables like our broccoli walnut salad lead the way in the prevention of this nasty disease. Whilst you're not likely to get beriberi, large numbers of people who eat mainly white rice and bread are prone to chronic fatigue from the deficiency of the B vitamins.

And of course if you are significantly overweight, your hips, knees and feet will always complain. Save your life, literally, and get it off. Inability to walk fast because of pain in the undercarriage actually will shorten your days on earth.

Foot pain

In short, foot pain can be a nightmare for many folk; just one of the causes is Morton's neuroma. Because it changes your gait it will have a knock on effect on the knees, hips and pelvis and even shorten your life, because you will walk more slowly.

Don't ignore foot pain; mostly it's very treatable, though quite possibly not curable.

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Lower leg pain 
My girlfriend has had surgery on a double Mortons Neuroma, in September, and while she is walking better, now has lower leg pain, and actions such as putting …

Can a jaw injury contribute to metatarsalgia?  
I was hit hard on my right jaw decades ago and noticed that whenever I have pain or other localized health issues, it's always on the right side. All tightened …

Should I take a B complex when I have neuroma? Not rated yet
Should I take a B complex when I have neuroma? Hi, My name is Mercedes. I have neuroma in both of my feet for 20 years. Lately, I learned about the …

sciatica and Morton's neuroma Not rated yet
Have you heard of any connection between sciatica and morton's neuroma when there is no pain in the foot? A podiatrist claims to relieve the sciatic nerve …

Falling with neuroma Not rated yet
I have been diagnosed with Morton's neuroma in my right foot, causing something like a frozen foot in area from ball of foot to middle toes when I take …

Nerve impingement hands and toes / neuromas Not rated yet
I have one on each for about 3 yrs. l may have one on right hand for about a week. What's your question, Raymond, and what treatment have you had? …

My toes Not rated yet
I have always worked at a job where I was on my feet. I retired and then went back to work and now all the sudden it seems as if my toes are too close …

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Interesting challenges of the day

1. Mr S is a 76 year old man with neck pain of some 9 months duration. Luckily, most of the discomfort is upper cervical which is only rarely arthritic; his lower cervical spine is a degenerative mess that I've left alone. After seven treatments his pain and stiffness is 50 percent better, and he's happy in the circumstances. He can sleep through the night now and that makes a huge difference.

2. Mr P is 32 year old man with very severe lower back pain radiating to the big toe which is 30 percent numb. He had an episode three weeks ago, took anti inflammatories and was soon better as is typical of the medial disc herniation. But before it healed, after a trivia it came roaring back, much worse. The characteristic crossed sign was evident; sitting in a chair, straightening the right leg provoked severe left back pain and tingling in the leg. He's doing well.

3. Severe lower back pain is scary; just ask Mrs P. Just watching her get out of the car I she was in trouble; she had a slipped disc at L4 making her lean towards the opposite side; luckily she had no pain in the leg. Despite family pressure that this was far too severe for a chiropractor, she persevered. Within five days she was standing upright, and after two weeks almost painfree. 

Despite a hectic job, she wisely took my advice and stayed home for what I call exercising bed rest.

4. Mr S has had lower back, groin and back of thigh and calf pain for fourth months.

He has a pincer deformity in the hip causing the stabs in the groin, and a degenerative facet causing the sciatica. Both are responding well to chiropractic and he's well pleased; sixty five percent better after three treatments.

5. Mr T is a wise man; he's taken a warning TIA seriously and has lost 15 pounds, and has at least as much again to lose. A change to a low starch diet and half hour daily walk has made the difference; but the walking is making his foot and back miserable. The expensive orthotic is hopeless; luckily his hips and back are fine, but he needs a simple heel lift.

6. I too have had serious lower back issues, luckily fixed by my own chiropractor; so I too have to do my exercises, take care when lifting supers full of honey, gardening and using the chainsaw. Regaining the function of your spine is just as important as the pain.

7. My own granddaughter, only 7 is hypermobile giving her pelvic, knee and ankle issues. Xrays show a mildly dysplastic hip. Years ago we would have called it growing pains. She too regularly needs chiropractic care and luckily responds well. Increased range of motion is more difficult than too stiff in my opinion. Our care is for kids too.

8. This 65 year old lady is a serious gardener; every day she is bending, lifting and digging for 2 to 3 hours a day. It regularly catches her in the sacroiliac joint, so she has a treatment once a month that sorts it out. She does her lower back exercises faithfully.

9. This 88 year old lady is an inspiration; every day she is busy in the community. With a nasty scoliosis she manages very well with a chiropractic adjustment every six weeks and exercises faithfully done.  

10. Mr X is a 71 year old retired man who wants to continue with maintenance care every six to eight weeks; he had suffered from two years of lower back pain when he first came a year ago. He has no discomfort now after 8 chiropractic treatments, but is aware that danger lurks.

11. Mrs C has been having severe headaches, and taking a lot of analgesics. It's a non complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she's doing well.

12. Mr D is a 38 old year man with chronic shoulder pain after a rotator cuff tear playing cricket. It responded well to treatment, but he knows he must do his exercises every day; for two years he couldn't sleep on that shoulder.

13. Mr D, a 71 year old man, has a severe ache in the shoulder and midback since working above his head. Trapped nerve tests are negative but he has advanced degenerative joints of Luschka; after just two treatments he is 50 percent better. Can we reach 90?

And so the day goes; chiropractors shouldn't be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that's so much bunkum.

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You helped me quite some time back with a soothing and professional response which turned out to be exactly correct. I now consult a local chiropractor. You write a superb newsletter, too.

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Knowing that up to 70% of the time the correct diagnosis is made with no examination, no special tests, no xrays, but just from the history, there's a fair chance I can add some insight to your unresolved problem. But at least 30% of the time, I may be quite wrong! Give plenty of detail if you want a sensible reply.

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