by Dr. Brant McCartan
The problem with neuromas in the foot, or Morton’s Neuroma, is that conservative treatment (rest, ice, orthotics, medications, physical therapy and even injections) helps only about half of the patients that I see with this painful condition. For those who don’t get relief from conservative care, many think that surgery is the only option.
The most common surgery for this condition is an open neurectomy, or removal of the nerve. This surgery unfortunately comes with many potential complications. One complication you can develop is a stump neuroma – which can occur when the damaged nerve attempts to re-grow after surgery. This surgery also puts you at risk for developing metatarsalgia, overlapping toes, and hammertoes. This can happen because the removal of the neuroma destabilizes the tendons in the forefoot area.
The good thing is that there is new technology that can offer relief to those who need more than conservative treatment. These new treatments offer far less complications than traditional open nuerectomy surgery. Options include ablation, cryotherapy, and sclerosing, all of which function to eliminate the nerves that are causing your pain. Radiofrequency ablation uses radio waves to heat up the damaged nerves and end the pain. Cryotherapy does the same thing with cold – freezing the nerves. Sclerosing, or injecting the site of the neuroma with alchol, has been proven to be effective. These treatments can be a good next step for those dealing with neuroma pain in the foot.