Morton's Neuroma

A Morton’s neuroma is non-traumatic in nature and is more specifically fibrosis around the nerve in the interdigital space rather than a true neuromatous process. It is thought to be due to an entrapment neuropathy due to a tighter space, such as tight fitting shoes causing reduction of the space between the metatarsal bones.

Symptoms of Morton's neuroma

Typically people experience aching or pain in the third web space, especially after standing for longer periods. They may develop reduced sensation in the 3rd and 4th toes.

Morton's neuroma occurs more commonly in females and 85-90% are in the third web space.

Causes of Morton's neuroma

  • Primary osteoarthritis with articular cartilage damage
  • Secondary osteoarthritis: related to trauma or previous fractures such as LisFranc fracture / dislocations, or increased joint stress from adjacent joint disease
  • Inflammatory arthropathy; most commonly rheumatoid arthritis
  • Charcot neuroarthropathy
Imaging for Morton's neuroma

  • Weight-bearing X-rays
  • Ultrasound or MRI scans may be required
Non operative treatment for Morton's neuroma

  • Topical pain creams e.g. NSAIDS
  • Pain medications e.g. NSAIDS such as Mobic or Panadol Osteo
  • Shoe wear modification
    • wide toe boxed shoes
    • soft metatarsal bar
  • Activity modification:
    • improve fitness and strength via non axial loading exercises e.g. cycling, swimming
    • avoid axial loading exercises e.g. running
  • Injections
    • local anaesthetic/steroid
    • some patients have relief for up to 2 years
Surgery for Morton's neuroma

Surgery for Morton's neuroma involves making a small incision on the top of the foot to excise a portion of the nerve.

Risks of Morton's neuroma surgery

All surgery has risks involved, however every effort is made to reduce these risks. Risks include but are not limited to:

  • Infection: superficial wounds or deep infections
  • Clots: DVT (deep venous thrombosis) or PE (pulmonary embolus)
  • Nerve damage: tingling, numbness or burning
  • Ongoing pain
  • Stiffness of the ankle joint
  • General or anaesthetic risks including to the heart and lung
  • Drug reactions/allergy
  • Scarring or tethering of the skin
  • Recurrence
  • Calf weakness
  • Revision surgery

There are increased risks of surgery in diabetics, smokers, significant peripheral vascular disease, severe neuropathy, previous or current infection which may preclude a patient from surgery.

View FootForward for Diabetes (run by Diabetes Australia) for more information on foot care.  

For all appointments and enquiries, please phone 07 5645 6913 or email

9 Kinloch Avenue
Benowa QLD 4217


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