Morton's neuroma is a non-cancerous growth that forms over one or more of the nerves that run from the foot to the toes. Foot pain and inflammation occur when the bone and ligaments in the foot press down on the neuroma during use of the foot. Morton's neuromas occur between the third and fourth toes the most often but can occur between the second and third toes.
Symptoms of Morton's neuroma include the sensation of a lump between the toes, pain when pressure is put on the foot, numbness in the toes, sharp pain in the ball of the foot and burning pain that extends to the toes.
Rates of women diagnosed with Morton's neuroma are disproportionately higher than men. Individuals diagnosed with sleep disorders, diabetes and HIV are commonly diagnosed with Morton's neuroma. Individuals who have suffered foot injuries, engage in repetitive physical activities, have low arches, flat feet or deformed feet are diagnosed with Morton's neuroma at higher rates. Genetics have also been identified as a cause.
Surgery is performed when non-invasive approaches, such as corticosteroid injections, fail to relieve the foot pain and debilitation that result from Morton's neuroma. Recovery times from the surgery vary from individual to individual but can take months. Not following post-operative instructions will lead to a prolonged recovery time.
During the first week of recovery from surgery, patients are directed to keep the foot elevated as often as possible. They are directed to use a cane, crutches or a walker to assist them in keeping weight off the foot. Pressure on the foot will prevent proper healing and prolong recovery times. A Darco shoe, or boot, is worn for at least four weeks after the Morton's neuroma surgery to minimize pressure on the foot.
Post-operative dressings are left on the foot for up to 12 days to prevent complications such as infection. The foot and bandage must stay dry during this period of the recovery time to prevent complications with the incision before it heals. Once the incision has healed, the individual is directed to massage the scar with lotion or oils for up to six weeks to prevent skin the skin from tightening that results in prolonged recovery times.
While swelling may continue for as long as three months after surgery, many individuals are able to return to normal physical activity levels after eight weeks of recovery. Orthopedic shoes with metatarsal and arch support prevent setbacks that prolong recovery times after Morton's neuroma surgery.