If it feels like you have a marble under the ball of your foot, or your toes get numb in tight shoes, you might have a Morton’s neuroma. With this condition, you often feel better walking barefoot than in shoes. And you experience persistent ball of foot pain.

There are several ways to treat this painful condition. But since many of my patient’s prefer minimally invasive, more natural medical approaches, Tanglewood Foot Specialists is now treating Morton’s neuroma with Shockwave therapy. 

What is Morton’s Neuroma? treating morton's neuroma with Shockwave therapy

The term neuroma describes thickening or enlargement of a nerve. When you’re diagnosed with a Morton’s neuroma, that means the  thickening affects the nerve tissue between your third and fourth toes, or more technically speaking, between those metatarsal bones.

Even though the problem is located between your toes, your symptoms may be localized around the ball of your foot or in your toes. Those symptoms can include pain, numbness and tingling.

What Causes Morton’s Neuroma?

Your nerve thickens when it receives too much mechanical pressure. That may happen if you have flat feet or high-arches. But other foot deformities, including hammer toes and bunions, could also cause trouble for your nerve. Whatever the source of the pressure, it pushes the surrounding metatarsal bones onto the nerve. This could trigger inflammation and thickening on any of your nerves. But it’s especially common between your third and fourth toes, because you also have a ligament between these bones that adds to the pressure.  

Morton’s Neuroma Symptoms

The most common symptoms of Morton’s neuroma include pain when you wear narrow shoes. (This is a more common symptom for women than men.) As mentioned previously, you may experience pain in the ball of your foot. It could manifest as a sharp pain, or it could feel more like dull pressure. In some cases, the enlarged nerve could even leave the ball of your foot feeling numb. And the same is true for your toes, where you may also experience pain, a sensation of pressure, or numbness.

Morton’s Neuroma Treatment Options

I offer several different Morton’s Neuroma treatment options in my Houston podiatry practice. I always start with the simplest choice:  having you change into wider shoes to reduce pressure on your metatarsal bones. This immediately reduces pressure on your nerve. I also tell my patients to steer clear of high heels. These shoes shift your body weight to the front of your foot, piling pressure on your inflamed nerve and magnifying the problem.

I may also fit you for a custom orthotic, since these medical devices redistribute pressure across your foot, bringing relief to your inflamed nerve. Some patients benefit from anti-inflammatory medications or cortisone injections to quickly target the source of their nerve pain.

But the injections and medications simply reduce inflammation; they won’t eliminate the Morton’s neuroma. In fact, for some patients, we may need to consider surgery after these treatment options. Yet many patients prefer to avoid injections, medications and invasive procedures. Plus they want an all-in-one lasting treatment option. So, for them, I now recommend treating Morton’s neuroma with Shockwave therapy.

What is Shockwave Therapy? Treating Morton's neuroma with Shockwave therapy

This is a non-surgical treat option for Morton’s Neuroma pain.  In my practice, I use Extracorporeal Pulse Activation Technology, or (EPAT) Shockwave therapy. Since it is a non-invasive form regenerative medicine, it helps your body heal itself without the need for external interventions such as drugs or steroid injections. And, unlike cortisone injections, whose effectiveness wears off over time, treating Morton’s neuroma with Shockwave therapy should provide lasting relief. Especially when combined with custom orthotics after treatment.  

Essentially, the EPAT machine delivers thousands of sound waves to your inflamed nerve via the painless device head. These waves cause microdamage in your targeted nerve. But don’t worry. Instead of making more trouble, these tiny tears actually help your body understand that the nerve area is in trouble. As a result, it sends healing resources to the area at a much faster pace. In turn, your pain and inflammation reduces, often after just one treatment with Shockwave therapy.  

Why Treat Morton’s Neuroma With Shockwave Therapy

The EPAT technology I use in the office provides patients with a natural, way to resolve Morton’s neuroma pain. I also believe it’s a superior treatment option, since it helps your body form new, healthy cells at a faster pace. Even better? Shockwave therapy can help your body form new blood vessels through a process called angiogenesis. This boosts blood flow to inflamed regions in your foot, further speeding the healing process.

Finally, Shockwave therapy also breaks down calcium deposits and scar tissue in and around your inflamed nerve. This can remove barriers to healing in two ways: taking extra pressure off your neuroma, and giving your body more reasons to form new, healthy tissue.  

In the process, treating Morton’s with Shockwave therapy makes your pain receptors less sensitive. As a result, you can often enjoy your regular activities throughout the treatment process.

What to Expect During Shockwave Treatment

When you come in for Morton’s neuroma relief, we typically recommend three EPAT sessions, with each visit spaced a week apart. Each time you come into the office, your visit should last 10 minutes or less. So it’s not difficult to work this treatment option into your busy schedule!  

Most of our patients notice measurable pain relief after just one EPAT session. But Shockwave therapy is cumulative pain relieving procedure,  so you should be pain free by the end of your scheduled sessions.

Shockwave Therapy with your Podiatrist Houston, TX

When I begin Shockwave therapy for Morton’s neuroma pain, I apply gel to the ball of your foot and the surrounding area. This helps the sound waves directly transfer to the inflamed neuroma, delivering targeted, efficient pain relief.

Most people say Shockwave therapy is painless, though some patients describe the sensation as feeling like a rubber band snapping against their skin. If you find the treatment too irritating, I can adjust the intensity without compromising your outcome. And I can also give you relief without any numbing creams or injections. 

After treating Morton’s neuroma with Shockwave therapy, you should be able to resume regular activities immediately. You may even be able to wear narrow shoes, though I’d recommend limiting this kind of footwear to all my patients. Ready to start exploring the power of regenerative medicine for Morton’s neuroma pain?  Reach out to our office and ask us about Shockwave therapy for nerve pain. 

Dr. Andrew Schneider
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A podiatrist and foot surgeon in Houston, TX.