Pain in the Ball of Your Feet? It Could be a Morton’s Neuroma

Jan 20, 2023

Morton’s neuroma is a condition caused by an inflamed nerve that causes pain in the ball of the foot. It is a painful sensation which affects the ball of the foot radiating into the third or fourth toe. It can feel as if you are standing on a pebble in your shoe or on a fold in your sock. Morton’s neuroma involves a thickening of the tissues around one of the nerves leading to your toes.

Who can it affect?

  • Females
  • Men


People who suffer from this condition have symptoms such as pain, burning sensations, nerve-like pain, sharp and electric pains in the ball of the foot radiating into the third and fourth toe. People may also experience stinging sensation or numbness in the affected toes. This pain can worsen with day-to-day activities such as walking, climbing stairs or hills and when doing sports recreational activities.

Why do you get a Morton’s Neuroma:

The top reasons are:

  • Footwear such as high heels and tight toe boxed shoes
  • Genetics / Congenital
  • Sports that are high impact or require tight fitting shoes


A specialist can diagnose a neuroma several ways:

  • X-Ray
  • MRI
  • Ultrasound
  • Palpation – this entails pressing on your foot to feel for a mass or tender spot. There may also be a feeling of “clicking” between the bones of your foot.

Treatments & Management:

  • Insoles
  • Surgical Intervention
  • Therapy
  • Shock Wave Therapy
  • Laser Therapy
  • Corticosteroids
  • Manipulations/manual therapies

Manual therapies for Morton’s neuroma explained:

Manual therapies are a highly effective option for the treatment of Morton’s neuroma – This can include manual therapies such as foot mobilisations and manipulations.

Mobilisations and manipulations are two non-invasive manual therapies that aim to reduce pain and restore movement into joints and surrounding tissues. They both work within the scale of your natural range of motion (RoM) available at the joints being treated.

Mobilisations use slow rhythmic movements and are performed within the passive range of motion of the joint. Its physiological effects stimulate receptors in the tissues and joint capsules. This sends feedback to the brain, effectively reminding the body of the motion which is available at that joint. Mobilisation is particularly useful as a treatment method in conditions such as Morton’s neuroma, injuries such as plantar fasciopathy and Achilles tendinopathy, during rehabilitation including high trauma, and ankle injuries.

Manipulation involves applying a specific amount of force in a very precise motion to a joint, to reduce joint restriction and restore normal range of motion. Manipulation has been shown to increase blood-flow to the affected area. Manipulation also immediately improves the mobility of the joints and reduces the pain experienced in the surrounding soft tissues. Some injuries result in adhesions and cross linkages forming around a joint limiting its movement. Manipulation can release the joint from these hindrances and return normal, smooth motion to the previously injured structure.

Manipulation has been shown to offer a better long-term result than a steroid injection.  As a non-invasive treatment it is therefore one of the best options for treatment of a Morton’s neuroma, and why we use this approach extensively in The Foot & Ankle Clinic in Darlington.

  • Laser treatment for Morton’s neuroma (which is the same thing as laser therapy for Morton’s neuroma), can be extremely effective, especially when used alongside other treatment modalities. We are fortunate in clinic to have all the leading technologies such as laser, focal shockwave and radial shockwave so allowing us to combine their use as required with patients.
  • SIS and Focal shockwave therapy for Morton’s neuroma are also extremely useful, and we use them alongside manual therapies in the clinic, but this is a discussion for another blog…

If you are suffering with foot pain caused by a neuroma or any other issue please go to our foot pain page on our website to see how we can help you