We all know that feeling when you're out walking or running, and suddenly you realize there's something in your shoe that shouldn't be there. A pebble, piece of dirt, something other than your foot (or your favorite insole) has taken up residence inside your shoe! The discomfort and irritation slowly becomes painful or annoying enough that we stop what we’re doing, and take off our shoe to remove the stone.
This is what Morton’s neuroma feels like, except you can’t just remove your shoe and take out a stone. Morton’s Neuroma is a painful condition that directly affects the ball of the foot. Also known as Intermetatarsal Neuroma, the discomfort felt is similar to that of a rock that has mysteriously lodged itself into your shoe and you feel it as you walk or run. One of the plantar digital nerves in your foot becomes irritated and thickens, causing pain from the ball of your foot into your toes. When the tissues around the nerves that lead to the toes thickens, you may experience symptoms such as tingling, numbness or burning.
The exact cause of Morton’s neuroma isn’t completely known, but the condition is most common in runners who put a lot of pressure on their feet or those who spend all day wearing tight, high-heeled shoes that compress the feet. If you’ve had Morton’s neuroma before, or think you could be at risk, here are five mistakes to avoid to prevent any serious problems and keep you on your feet, pain-free.
Ignoring the Early Signs.
When you start to notice pain in your toes and feel like you’re constantly stepping on a stone, the worst mistake you can make is ignoring those signs. Like many other health conditions, Morton’s neuroma is easy to treat and keep under control if caught early enough. If you notice signs of a neuroma in your foot, consider the types of footwear you use throughout the day. If you’re constantly in heels, consider wearing flats or shoes with a smaller heel. If your running shoes are worn out, it might be time to get a new pair that provides the right amount of comfort and stability for your feet. Wearing the right footwear that provides cushion and gives your toes enough room to breathe can help prevent and manage Morton’s neuroma.
Continuing to Wear High-Heeled or Constrictive Shoes
For some men and women in the workforce, wearing heels and tight, constrictive dress shoes is a necessity. However, these types of shoes put extra pressure on your feet and don’t leave enough room for your toes to stretch out like they should. Habitually wearing shoes like this can lead to Morton’s neuroma. If you’re at the point where you’ve noticed early symptoms of the condition, try to find wider shoes that provide plenty of room and have a smaller heel. This will take pressure off your foot and help alleviate some of the pain you’re feeling. Shoe accessories like metatarsal foot pads can also provide Morton’s neuroma pain relief because they add extra cushion and shift pressure away from the metatarsal bones that are affected by the nerve irritation. If you aren’t required to be in tight dress shoes all the time, avoid them as much as possible and work to balance your days with more comfortable shoes (your feet will thank you!).
Continuing to Run and Exercise Through the Pain
For many runners and athletes out there, suffering an injury is devastating and just downright unacceptable. As frustrating and inconvenient as it is to stop doing what you love because of foot pain, the worst thing you can do is try to run or exercise through it and hope it goes away on its own. If you are suffering from Morton’s neuroma, take some time to back off the intense running and switch over to a cardio workout that doesn’t put as much pressure on your foot. Many runners will add cycling and spinning to their cardio schedules, as both of these are low risk to your feet. Just make sure you wear proper fitting cycling shoes and watch how much resistance you are adding to your workouts. If you start to feel pain from the aggravated nerve while cycling or spinning, decrease the intensity or stop all together.
Ignoring Orthotic Insoles and Treatments
Morton’s neuroma orthotic insoles provide great support for your feet and can help relieve the pain and tingling you’re battling with. Orthotic insoles like the Pinnacle Plus are ideal for treating the symptoms of Morton’s neuroma because they are specifically designed to include maximum cushioning and offer a built-in metatarsal pad. This metatarsal pad helps to spread and cushion your metatarsals to relieve the pain from the pinched nerve. While not a complete cure for the condition, orthotic insoles offer the extra support that shoes alone don’t provide to combat the pain and discomfort from Morton’s neuroma.
Not Consulting a Doctor
When your foot pain lasts for several weeks and just becomes a normal part of your routine, it’s best to consult with your doctor or podiatrist. They’ll examine your foot, possibly run other tests like MRIs or X-rays to rule out other conditions, and help determine the best treatment for your Morton’s neuroma. If orthotics, metatarsal pads, and other non-surgical treatments don’t solve the issue, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove the affected nerve. When dealing with an injury, always make sure to pay a visit to your doctor so you can find out the most effective way to treat the condition.
As easy as it can be to ignore the discomfort in your foot because of busy schedules, make sure you make your foot health a priority. You’ll catch symptoms sooner, heal sooner, and get back to your normal, pain-free routine faster!