Conservative Treatments For Morton’s Neuroma

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If you have had the unfortunate luck of developing Morton’s neuroma, then you are now facing an interesting challenge. This condition takes time to develop and. Often in life, results which have taken a long time to come to fruition, also hold up for a long time. And the same is true for Morton’s neuroma.

Your aim should always be to avoid surgery at all costs, since this is the most invasive way of treatment, which is going to leave you with a recovery period and some scar tissue.

Medical History

In order to treat and cure your foot pain, it’s best if you visit your GP first. He’ll point you to a place where you can get treatment for your neuroma. It is very important that your doctor listens to you and learns more about your medical history.

It matters a lot whether or not you are a very active sports player, or a very active couch potato. In the case of you playing sports, it will mean that your feet regularly get the endure high intensity impacts. This will usually mean that you’ll need a more aggressive treatment then when you had been a person sitting still.

Other important things to factor in, is whether or not you have rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes. Your doctor will need to be up to date on these conditions, if he/she is to put together a good treatment plan for you, which stands a chance of successfully curing your foot pain.

Your doctor must also know whether you’ve changed footwear recently, and whether you are willing to do so again in order to cure your Morton’s neuroma. Your doctor will also want to know whether or not you’ve already had phsyical therapy in an effort to improve your predicament.

More often than not, doctors will start out by recommending conservative treatment plans, such as a customized foot orthotic, looser shoes, or a combination thereof. You will have to try these out for a few weeks to see if it will improve the situation. If it won’t, only then will the treatment move on to more aggressive forms.

Morton’s Neuroma Treatments

Next to looser shoes and good insoles, there are plenty of other treatments available for this painful foot condition. Some of them are more cutting edge and/or invasive than others. Here is a list to give you an idea of the possibilities:

  • Surgery
  • Physical therapy
  • Drug prescription
  • Stem cell therapy
  • Neurolytic injections
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Plasma rich platement injections
  • Radiofrequency ablation
  • Cryotherapy ablation (cryosurgery)
  • Stock medical grade insoles
  • Custom insoles

Conservative Therapies

Let’s have an in depth look at some of the more conservative therapies, which are tried before moving on to more aggressive forms of therapy.

1. Orthotics / Shoes

Since Morton’s neuroma is caused by too much pressure on your common digital plantar nerve, the first thing you’ll want to do is remove the pressure from this nerve. You can do this by getting shoes with a wide toe box, for starters. It also helps if your shoes stretch a little. But on the other hand, you’ll also want them to be non binding shoes, so that they don’t restrict you. Because that’s exactly what you are trying to get rid of!

Furthermore, you require good orthotics because these will help your feet make natural strides. If there is something off about your gait, then this would be a good indication of the fact that your feet’s walking mechanisms are off and that you need good support to correct this. Stock insoles usually don’t cut it. So look to either medical grade insoles, or get a pair of better third party insoles (check out this review of Tread Labs, for instance), or get customized insoles if you are dead serious about your foot health.

2. Medications

There is a wide range of medications available to treat a neuroma in your foot.

Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs

Also known as NSAIDs. Good examples of NSAIDs are Aleve and Advil, which are both over the counter pain killer that you have no doubt heard of before. There are certain types of NSAIDs can only be acquired on a prescription basis. These are the so called COX-2 inhibitors. An example of such a COX-2 inhibitor is Celebrex.

The over the counter versions are very unlikely to have side effects. The prescription ones are slightly more likely to cause side effects, but they will be mild if any arise at all.

Tylenol / Acetaminophen

Acetaminophen is a good drug for relieving moderate pain. A Physician can prescribe you this drug. You should almost never use it for longer than 10 days, unless your physician says that you can.

There will likely be no side effects when you are using this drug and taking your physician’s advice seriously. Mind you, this drug does not go well with alcohol.

3. Ice

Morton’s neuroma can cause a big, swollen lump in between your toes. It can help to use ice cubes 3 times a day for about 20 minutes on that lump. It helps to spread your ice cube therapy across the day. It’s especially helpful if you also do it in the evening, since that is when your feet are the most tired and require the most rest and cooling down.

If you suffer from sensation problems in your foot, due to blood circulation problems for example, then you should be careful with using ice. Under all other circumstances, ice cubes are a very conservative therapy with very small chances of side effects.

It may sound counter intuitive, but next to ice, heat can also help you a great deal. First applying cold and then heat, is known as contrast therapy. If you want to try this out, use an ice pack for 20 minutes, then use a heating pad for 20 minutes.

Contrast therapy will reduce the therapy and increase the blood flow. Both help you in decreasing your pain from Morton’s neuroma.

4. Physical Therapy

Physical therapy can help a great deal in reducing the pain that you are suffering from your Morton’s neuroma. It’s usually part of a greater treatment plan.

It is entirely possible that your doctor will want to evaluate your gait. This means he/she will have you walk around for a bit so that she can analyze how you walk. Any problems in your gait that might lead to the development of Morton’s neuroma can be diagnosed this way. Your physician will look at things such as:

  • Are your feet, ankles and shins in alignment?
  • Are your toes pointing in the right direction?
  • Does your body spring up and down?
  • Are your legs, shins and feet relaxed during your walk?
  • Etc.

Toe exercises

By doing toe exercises, you can strengthen your muscles around the area where your neuroma is. This will help take the pressure off.

Ankle exercises

By doing ankle exercises, you counter the weakning of these muscles that are caused by Morton’s neuroma. It will help you stand with greater stability, which reduces the chances of sustaining further injuries to your already painful foot.

Massaging / stretching

Morton’s neuroma usually tightens tendons and ligaments around the affected area. Stretching and massaging these, will help you loosen them up, which reduces the pressure.


Morton’s neuroma is incredibly painful and hard to deal with. But the treatment options are legion. You won’t have to go in for surgery, until all else fails.

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About the author


Hi, I’m Brian Bradshaw. I’m a super duper mega hiking enthusiast, with a love for everything that has to do with outdoors, hiking, gear, footwear and more.

2 thoughts on “Conservative Treatments For Morton’s Neuroma”

  1. I have had radiofrequency ablation, ETOH injection, Cortisone, orthotics, chiropractor. All failed. YOu still say surgery is the worst? What choice do I have left?

    • Hi Jay,

      You always want to avoid surgery at all costs. This goes for any condition. But if you have no options left, then surgery is often the way to go.

      I’m not a doctor and this is not medical advice. Consult your doctor. Best of luck with your Morton’s neuroma.




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