Burning or Numbness in the Forefoot
Do You Have Tingling in Your Toes?
Morton’s Neuroma is pain, numbness, or tingling in the forefoot, especially between the 3rd and 4th toes. The pain is due to the thickening of the nerve that supplies the sensation to the area between the toes. Other names for the condition are Morton’s metatarsalgia, Morton’s neuralgia, plantar neuroma, and intermetatarsal neuroma.
What is it?
Morton’s Neuroma is a sharp, burning pain or numbness and tingling between two toes which can extend outwards or involve the whole side of your foot. The pain in the forefoot can be intermittent at first but it may become more frequent as time progresses. It often becomes worse when wearing shoes or with activity and is usually aggravated by squeezing the foot. The condition most commonly occurs in females. It is termed Morton’s neuroma when it occurs between the third and fourth toes; if the condition appears between other toes it is termed neuroma.
What Causes it?
The most common cause of this condition is wearing narrow or high-heeled shoes. Irritation, pressure, or injury to one of the nerves that lead to your toes causes the pain. High impact activities (such as running or jogging) which put pressure on the ligament can also cause the nerve to thicken. So can sports that require tight fitting shoes, such as skiing. Deformities such as hammer toes, bunions, and flat feet can also cause the ligament to press on the nerve.
What Can I do?
Morton’s neuroma can usually be avoided by wearing shoes that allow adequate space for the foot and toes. Once developed you will want to modify your activity until the condition improves. It is important to pay attention to your footwear and switch to shoes with a wide, oblique, mitten-shaped toe box. Shoes with rocker soles can also help relieve pressure in the forefoot.
The condition can be very painful and various treatments can be used to help relieve the pain. Using an ice pack on the affected area can help relieve some of the inflammation and resting the foot and massaging the affected toes can help to temporarily lessen the discomfort. Certain types of arch supports can help reduce the pressure on the nerve, especially an arch support with a metatarsal pad. Corticosteroid injections may also be helpful. At times decompressions surgery or removal of the nerve may be necessary if other treatments do not provide pain relief.