The pain of fibromyalgia is often widespread, affecting a number of different muscles and joints in the body. Much of this fibromyalgia syndrome pain emanates from tender points around your body, making daily activities difficult. Some fibromyalgia sufferers also have to deal with the pain of conditions associated with the illness. Morton’s Neuroma is becoming more common among fibromyalgia patients. This condition causes severe foot pain, making exercise and activity difficult for sufferers. Though the cause of Morton’s Neuroma in fibromyalgia is unknown, there are a number of treatments available to help ease your pain.
What is Morton’s Neuroma?
Morton’s Neuroma is a pain condition that affects your feet and toes. If you are suffering from Morton’s Neuroma, a growth of tissue has developed over one of the nerves running from your feet into your toes. This growth can cause inflammation and pain whenever you use your foot.
A type of benign tumor, Morton’s Neuroma typically develops in the space between the third and fourth toes, although it can also form between the second and third toes. When you walk, the bones and ligaments in the top of your foot press down on this growth, causing pressure and pain.
What Causes Morton’s Neuroma?
Unfortunately, the cause of Morton’s Neuroma remains unknown to researchers. It is likely that a variety of factors may play a role in the development of this condition, including the presence of chronic pain conditions like fibromyalgia. Factors that may contribute to the development of Morton’s Neuroma include:
- Poorly Fitted Shoes: Wearing improperly fitting shoes can cause pressure on your foot, leading to swelling around the toe nerves. High heels are of particular concern as they cause a large amount of weight to be shifted to the ball of the foot.
- Repetitive Activities: High impact, repetitive activities like jogging, walking, and aerobics can also place a lot of pressure on the feet. This could lead to Morton’s Neuroma.
- Injury: Having a previous foot or muscle injury may cause you to hold your foot in a poor position when walking, contributing to nerve inflammation.
- Genetics: Some people are just born with poorly shaped feet. People with extremely low arches or “flat feet” may suffer from Morton’s Neuroma more than others.
Who Gets Morton’s Neuroma?
Morton’s Neuroma seems to be much more common among women than men; in fact, between eight and ten times more women are affected by the condition.
Morton’s Neuroma is also more common among those suffering from:
- sleep disorders
Morton’s Neuroma and Fibromyalgia
Many orthopedic surgeons have noticed that there seems to be a link between fibromyalgia and Morton’s Neuroma. Though the association between the two conditions is unknown, upon treatment for Morton’s Neuroma many of the symptoms of fibromyalgia decrease in severity or disappear entirely. This may indicate that nerve damage or injury plays a large role in causing fibromyalgia pain.
Symptoms of Morton’s Neuroma
The symptoms of Morton’s Neuroma tend to come and go over time. They are typically exacerbated by physical activity or by wearing certain shoes.
Morton’s Neuroma symptoms include:
- sharp pain in the ball of the foot
- pain radiating to the tips of the toes
- burning pain in the second, third, or fourth toes
- numbness in the toes
- sensation of a lump between the toes
Diagnosing Morton’s Neuroma
Diagnosis of Morton’s Neuroma typically involves a physical examination of the affected foot. Your health care provider will ask you about your symptoms and examine your feet and toes.
She will manipulate your toes, pushing them from side to side and squeezing on the spaces in between. This physical exam will allow your health care provider to feel for any lumps that may be present under the soft tissue of your feet.
Your health care provider may also listen for any clicking sounds that your bones may be making. Known as Muldor’s Sign, this clicking is common amongst sufferers of foot neuroma. Occasionally, an x-ray or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is performed to help rule out any breaks, sprains, or fractures in your foot.
Treating Morton’s Neuroma
Treatment for Morton’s Neuroma usually begins conservatively, with a change in lifestyle choices. People suffering from the condition may find pain relief by:
- reducing activity levels
- changing footwear
- using orthopedic supports
- reducing weight
Medications are also available to help relieve the pain of Morton’s Neuroma. Over-the-counter medications are sometimes very helpful in reducing pain and inflammation.
Your health care provider can also provide you with anesthetic or corticosteroid injections. These help to numb the area affected by the neuroma, and reduce inflammation.
For those who are suffering severely with Morton’s Neuroma, surgery is a possibility. An orthopedic surgeon can remove the growth and repair your foot relatively easily. However, Morton’s Neuroma surgery is associated with a lengthy recovery time and there is a possibility that the neuroma may return.