Role of appropriate footwear and modification of activities to reduce the chances of Morton’s neuroma returning

Morton neuroma, a well described neuroma of the foot, is a clinical condition that is characterised by inflammation of the plantar interdigital nerve and the subsequent development of pain when walking. There are different modalities that are available in the management of this condition ranging from simple painkillers to orthotics and surgical management.
The choice of footwear and the type of activities that an individual performs seems to have a bearing on the long-term outcomes of Morton’s neuroma. In particular, it is understood that these factors can in fact dictate whether or not Morton neuroma returns in the future. In this article, we shall briefly review the appropriate footwear and type of activities that a patient suffering from Morton’s neuroma needs to perform in order to prevent its recurrence.

Wearing the right footwear

One of the causes of neuroma of the foot is poor fitting footwear. In particular, the use of tight, pointy shoes and high heels has been shown to increase the likelihood of this condition. This is because this kind of footwear can squeeze the foot right where the plantar inter digital nerve goes between the bones (the metatarsal heads.)

These days, simple orthotics are available that can be inserted into the shoe to help decrease the stress upon the head of the metatarsals. By providing an arch underneath the metatarsal heads a good orthotic can help separate the metatarsal heads and so relieve pressure on the nerve.

Role of appropriate footwear and modification of activities to reduce the chances of Morton’s neuroma returning

Wearing comfortable shoes with good, firm but not hard support can prevent injury and irritation of the nerve fibres within the foot and thus reduce the chances of Morton’s neuroma recurring. The shoes should have a large toe box i.e. they must have enough room for the toes to wriggle around and should not compress them together in any way.

Changing activities

Morton neuroma tends to be more common in patients who enjoy high impact activities such as running and aerobics. Repetitive stress especially in tight fitting shoes sustained during these activities can cause damage to the plantar interdigital nerves and over time can result in a great deal of pain.

Role of appropriate footwear and modification of activities to reduce the chances of Morton’s neuroma returning

The best way to prevent Morton’s neuroma from recurring is to change one’s activities or make changes within the existing activities that reduce the stress on the foot. For example, if patients wish to keep fit by performing regular aerobics or running, changing this activity to something as simple as cycling or swimming can decrease pressure on the nerve. Of course, changing one’s occupation may be rather difficult so certain changes may need to be made in the posture when performing a job to reduce the stress on the foot.

Conclusion

Morton’s neuroma can be a painful condition. Simple measures that reduce the stress on the plantar interdigital nerves and on the forefoot can prevent recurrence once the condition has been adequately treated.