It’s common for runners to be a bit on the tough side, but it’ s all too common for runners to try and tough it out when something starts to hurt. Ignoring injury is a sure-fire way to deny yourself your daily dose of mileage, so when you feel pain, please stop! Morton’s Neuromas occur often in runners and need not to be overlooked. With proper diagnosis and these top tips, this inflammation of the nerve between the third and fourth toes doesn’t have to ruin your running regimen for long.
A Morton’s Neuroma is an inflamed nerve between the third and fourth toes of the foot that elicits burning and tingling sensations when irritated. The area’s metatarsal bones pinch nerve endings and cause the surrounding tissue to thicken. Since this nerve connects through the leg and to the spine, the pain can encompass the entire body. Sharp, stabbing pains and foot cramping occur with a Morton’s Neuroma, rather than any physical signs such as swelling or bumps.
Typical for runners, a Morton’s Neuroma can be defined as an overuse injury that comes as a result of daily wear-and-running-tear. Runners prone to pronation–excessive flattening of the arch–tend to develop Morton’s Neuromas more often. The flatter the arch, the higher the pressure on the metatarsals, therefore setting the scene for nerve compression and neuroma creation.
Have naturally flat feet? Watch out for Morton’s Neuromas. Shoes too tight? You may experience the burning associated with Morton’s Neuromas. Wearing high heels all day, every day? I’d like you to meet Mr. Morton’s Neuroma.
It’s important to tackle symptoms of Morton’s Neuromas head on, so make sure not to ignore the numbness and take the proper measures. Women, especially, need to be wary of the painful inflamed nerve injury as studies have shown that females are ten times as likely to experience a Morton’s Neuroma.
If you are already experiencing the burning, electric shocks stemming from Morton’s Neuroma, here are some top tips for treating your symptoms:
- REST from running: It may seem obvious to non-runners, but runners need to be reminded sometimes that pure rest from the roads is the best medicine.
- REST from activity: Remember that any activity that aggravates or doesn’t diminish your pain is doing more damage. Squatting, stairs and stressful strength training will irritate the nerve.
- Stretch: Stretching and massaging the injured area can help to decrease pressure between the toes and the metatarsals.
- Support: Defend the foot by wearing shoes with supportive inserts–consider custom-made orthodics to reduce pain and nip future foot injuries in the bud.
- Go low: Avoid wearing high heeled shoes, especially the pointed toe type.
- Go wide: Wear shoes that have a wide front toe box to allow for ample room for the foot to move.
- Heat, ice, repeat: Heat the area for 5 minutes, then switch to ice for 5; repeat for 20-30 minutes.
- Toe pick-ups: Weak feet open the door for Morton’s Neuromas, so strengthen your feet by placing small objects (i.e. sugar packets, marbles, tissues, etc.) on the floor and using your toes to pick them up.
- Anti-inflammatory meds: Take medications like Advil or Motrin to reduce the inflammation.
- See a doctor: If the pain persists, it’s time to see a doctor–try a podiatrist. Common treatments to cure ongoing Morton Neuromas include cortisone injections or minor surgery.