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What Is a Neuroma?

A neuroma is a thickening of nerve tissue that may develop in various parts of the body. The most
common neuroma in the foot is a Morton’s neuroma, which occurs between the third and fourth toes. It
is sometimes referred to as an intermetatarsal neuroma. “Intermetatarsal” describes its location in the
ball of the foot between the metatarsal bones. Neuromas may also occur in other locations in the foot.
The thickening, or enlargement, of the nerve that defines a neuroma is the result of compression and
irritation of the nerve. This compression creates enlargement
of the nerve, eventually leading to permanent nerve damage.



Anything that causes compression or irritation of the nerve
can lead to the development of a neuroma. One of the most
common offenders is wearing shoes that have a tapered toe
box, or high‐heeled shoes that cause the toes to be forced
into the toe box. People with certain foot deformities –
bunions, hammertoes, flatfeet, or more flexible feet – are at
higher risk for developing a neuroma. Other potential causes
are activities that involve repetitive irritation to the ball of
the foot, such as running or court sports. An injury or other
type of trauma to the area may also lead to a neuroma.



If you have a Morton’s neuroma, you may have one or more
of these symptoms where the nerve damage is occurring:

  • Tingling, burning, or numbness

  • Pain

  • A feeling that something is inside the ball of the foot

  • A feeling that there’s something in the shoe or a sock is bunched up

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