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.


Chiropractic Help

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.


Metatarsalgia

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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