A Morton’s neuroma is swelling in the nerve or inflammation around the nerve at the base of the toe. Pain occurs in the two adjacent toes. The nerve affected by Morton’s neuroma runs from the foot surface to the toes. Due to the pressures of walking, standing and wearing shoes, severe, intermittent pain can occur in the ball of the foot. Some patients also experience numbness in the toes or sharp, sudden pains.
If the above treatments do not relieve the pain, your doctor may recommend surgery.
Surgery for Morton’s neuroma consists of removal of the affected nerve prior to its branching to the toes. Risks of surgery include infection, toe stiffness, or a recurrent neuroma. Numbness will result since the nerve is removed. However, over time, numbness typically becomes negligible.
Always ask your surgeon for complete pre-operative preparation instructions. Typically, these may include:
Your foot will be initialized in the preoperative area by someone from the surgical team. In the operating room, you will be met by a nursing team and the anesthesia team. You have several anesthetic options:
Epidural/Spinal and Local are usually combined with sedative medication so you can rest comfortably during the procedure. Once you are anesthetized, the surgery is initiated.
Surgery is typically done on an outpatient basis under local anesthesia. The doctor makes an incision on the top of the foot to remove the nerve. He then sutures the incision with stitches.
Because the procedure involves removing the nerve and neuroma, permanent numbness between the affected toes can result. However, most patients prefer the numbness to the pain they experienced before surgery. The stitches are removed within 3 weeks of the surgery, and most patients can walk without crutches soon after the procedure. Some mild bruising and bleeding is normal after foot surgery. Keep your foot and leg elevated while sitting or lying down and make sure your bandages are clean, dry and intact at all times.
If you experience persistent numbness, tingling, or burning sensations in your foot or ankle, it may be due to a surgical dressing that is too tight. Elevate your foot, and if this does not resolve the problem, call your doctor.
Complete recovery typically occurs within 3 to 6 weeks.
Slowing increasing one’s weight-bearing and normal activities is encouraged. Massage of the incision and forefoot is helpful. Formal rehabilitation is not usually necessary.
A dressing is left on the foot until the sutures are removed. After that, one can slowly resume normal activities.
Follow-up visits are scheduled by your surgeon.