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An intermetatarsal neuroma, also known as Morton’s neuroma, is a condition that involves the thickening of the tissue around the nerves leading to the toes, usually between the third and fourth metatarsal bones of the foot. It is named after Dr. Thomas Morton, who first described the condition.
Here are some key points about intermetatarsal neuroma:
- Causes: The exact cause of intermetatarsal neuroma is not fully understood, but it is commonly associated with repetitive stress or irritation to the nerve in the foot. The most common underlying factor is compression or irritation of the nerve between the metatarsal bones.
- Symptoms: The primary symptom of intermetatarsal neuroma is pain, typically described as a burning or sharp sensation in the ball of the foot, often radiating into the toes. Some individuals may feel as if they are standing on a pebble or have a sock bunched up under the foot. The pain is usually worsened by walking, wearing tight shoes, or applying pressure to the affected area.
- Risk factors: Certain factors can increase the risk of developing intermetatarsal neuroma, including wearing tight or high-heeled shoes that squeeze the forefoot, participating in high-impact sports that put repetitive stress on the feet, having foot deformities (such as bunions or hammertoes), or having certain foot biomechanical abnormalities.
- Diagnosis: A healthcare professional, such as a podiatrist or orthopedic specialist, can diagnose intermetatarsal neuroma through a physical examination and medical history evaluation. Imaging tests like ultrasound or MRI may be used to confirm the diagnosis and rule out other foot conditions.
- Treatment: Treatment options for intermetatarsal neuroma depend on the severity of symptoms. Non-surgical approaches may include wearing wider shoes with lower heels, using metatarsal pads or orthotic devices to relieve pressure on the affected area, and avoiding activities that worsen the pain. If conservative measures fail to provide relief, surgical intervention to remove the affected nerve may be considered.
If you suspect you have intermetatarsal neuroma or are experiencing foot pain, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment options tailored to your specific situation.