A Morton’s neuroma is a common condition affecting the ball of the foot. A neuroma refers to the benign overgrowth of nerve tissue that can cause pain, tingling and numbness. Initially, most Morton’s neuromas are treated nonsurgically through change of footwear and pain relieving medications. However, in some cases, symptoms do not resolve and surgery may be necessary for pain relief.
During the procedure, an incision will be made in the skin overlying the area of the neuroma, either on the top or bottom of the foot, depending on the patient’s neuroma and surgeon’s preference. Through this incision, the nerve comprising the neuroma is removed and the incision is closed with sutures. This is typically done under local or regional anaesthesia. As an outpatient procedure, Morton’s neuroma removal is relatively short and has no overnight hospital stay.
Who is a candidate?
Morton’s neuroma removal is for those whose symptoms have not responded to more conservative treatment methods. Typically, there are no outward signs of a Morton’s neuroma, but most patients experience pain, tingling, and numbness in the ball of the foot and the toes
Who is not a candidate?
Patients whose Morton’s neuromas are responsive to conservative treatment do not require Morton’s neuroma removal surgery.
Like other surgeries, Morton’s neuroma removal requires certain general surgery procedures such as preoperative blood testing, and cessation of smoking or use of pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs one week prior. You will likely be asked to stop eating or drinking the night before the surgery.
You may require crutches for a few days after surgery. The foot will remain tender for several days. The incision is protected with a bandage or dressing for about one week after surgery. The stitches are generally removed in 10 to 14 days. However, if your surgeon chose to use sutures that dissolve, you won't need to have the stitches taken out.
Recovery after Morton’s neuroma (neurectomy) surgery is generally quick. Typically patients are walking on the operated foot in a post-surgical shoe in about 2-4 weeks, depending on healing. Return to shoes is 2-6 weeks after the surgery. Factors that may prolong healing are age, smoking, poor nutritional status, and some medical problems.
As with any surgery, there is a risk of complications related to bleeding, infection or adverse reactions to anesthesia. An expected outcome is loss of sensation in the operated area due to nerve tissue removal. Toe stiffness and neuroma recurrence are other Morton’s neuroma removal specific complications.
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