Morton’s neuroma is a condition that develops in the interdigital nerves between metatarsal heads in the ball of the foot. The nerve becomes traumatized repetitively over time and can thicken, become scarred, and begin to generate pain both during activity and at rest. This condition is similar to carpal tunnel syndrome of the hand/wrist in that the nerve is thought to be compressed due to tight structures. It occurs much more commonly in the space between the third and fourth toes (third web space), rarely in the second web space, and almost never in the first or fourth space.
It is frequently confused with metatarsalgia and MTP synovitis/instability, and incorrect diagnoses are common. It occurs more often in people with bunion or toe deformities and in women. Shoes, and especially high fashion shoes (for women and men), aggravate the condition.
Pain from a Morton’s neuroma is usually described as a feeling of a “wad of paper or sock” beneath the toes or ball, but can also manifest as constant or intermittent pain that is usually better barefoot and worse in shoes. People who suffer from this condition usually feel worse as the day progresses and find they must remove shoes and massage their foot to gain relief.
Morton’s Neuroma is most commonly caused by too tight or narrow footwear, and in many cases can be prevented simply by wearing shoes with a wider toe-box to accommodate the foot. Generally, footwear should extend about a half inch past the the longest toes and not apply pressure on any of the bones in the forefoot.