Morton’s neuroma, also frequently referred to as plantar neuroma, is a very painful condition that is caused by the thickening of the nerve supplying sensation to the area of the foot located between the toes. It is a non-life threatening condition, but can be quite debilitating to those inflicted with it.
The primary cause of the condition is when the plantar digital nerve becomes trapped and squeezed by a ligament called the transverse intermetatarsal, which is located across the bones of the forefoot. Constant pressure on the nerve causes fibrosis and a thickening of it. This causes a chronic condition of growing pressure on the thickened nerve, resulting in greater levels of pain. The pain can become so bad that it becomes impossible to put any pressure on the foot, and therefore the patient is unable to walk naturally and without assistance.
There are many different options for treating Morton’s neuroma. The physicians at the Center for Morton’s Neuroma always seek to treat it by the least invasive means possible, resorting to Morton’s neuroma surgery as a last resort. The reasons for this are because other treatments have proven to be highly effective at treating the condition, the recovery time tends to be much shorter, and because there are always risks inherent with any surgery.
Some considerations before deciding upon surgery is that roughly one-third of patients experience unacceptable levels of foot pain afterwards, there is the risk of foot instability causing changes to the patient’s natural gait, and, though fairly rarely, follow up surgeries may have to be done and these tend to not have the same level of success as the first surgery.
After trying other treatments, surgery may be the only other option. Patients suffering from Morton’s neuroma should seek treatment from surgeons who have demonstrable experience and expertise in the surgery. Some patients have actually experienced increased foot pain when the surgery was not done correctly.
Morton’s neuroma surgery is typically done by operating through the top of the patient’s foot rather than through the bottom of her foot. This has the benefit of a shorter recovery time than if the surgery was performed through the latter.
The surgeon cuts through the patient’s transverse metatarsal ligament to relieve the pressure, this also allows the surgeon access to the neuroma to operate on it. The nerve will be removed, and the foot will be closed up. It’s likely that weight will be able to be put onto the leg right away, but it still will not be fully healed for up to four weeks. In some cases, especially when it is necessary to use another surgical approach, the pain can last for three or more months following the surgery.
The final decision on whether or not to treat Morton’s neuroma should be done only under competent medical advice. There is too much at stake to move too swiftly to make a decision to operate, particularly when other treatments have not been attempted.