Garden State Foot & Ankle Center


Morton's Neuroma / Plantar Neuroma

The term "neuroma" means "tumor of a nerve." It is an abnormal growth of cells within a nerve in your foot between the metatarsals (long bones) of your feet. This "tumor" is usually benign and is more of a formation of fibrous (scar) tissue around nerve tissue, than a true tumor. As we walk, the metatarsals compress the nerve that runs between them. As a result of this, fibrous scar tissue builds up around a nerve and thickens the nerve tissue causing pain.

The most common symptom is pain between the toes that is sharp in nature when walking. Patients typically relate a feeling of walking on a bunched up sock or cotton ball. Other symptoms include burning, numbness and tingling in two neighboring toes. Direct compression between the metatarsals will replicate the pain that is experienced when walking. Patients typically do not experience redness or swelling of the area when a plantar neuroma is present. Other conditions such as Freiberg's disease, capsulitis and bursitis can display Morton's neuroma-type symptoms. 

Typically a combination of anti-inflammatory medication, a series of injections and the proper shoe gear with orthotic inserts will provide significant relief and might cure the problem. In some instances, however, due to the excessive scar formation around the nerve, surgical excision by a podiatric surgeon may be needed to fully alleviate the symptoms.  

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