What is wrong with my foot?

You have developed a swelling around the nerve to two of your toes. Sometimes the swelling can cause the two affected toes to be pushed apart. This swelling of the nerve is called a Mortons’ Neuroma.

Why has this happened?

Mortons’ neuromas are fairly common. They are more common in females. Wearing shoes that are too tight, shoes with a high heel, or being flat-footed may also contribute to the formation of a neuroma. Toe deformities and bunions can also increase the risk of developing a neuroma.

Do I have to have an operation?

Wearing better shoes, pads, foot orthoses, steroid injections can be used to provide comfort and may completely resolve the pain for some people. If the foot is still uncomfortable despite these measures then an operation will usually be recommended.

What will the operation involve?

The operation, involves removing the swelling and the nerve itself. The underside of the two toes should be numb following surgery but this may only lasts for 18-24 months. The surgery can be performed under general or local anaesthetic. The foot will be heavily bandaged after the operation.

How successful is the operation?

85-90% of people are very satisfied with the results of the operation, as they no longer have the pain from the neuroma. They are then able to wear normal shoes again comfortably.

Are there any risks associated with the operation?

As with all operations there are risks associated with the anaesthetic. Occasionally some patients may have complications such as infection, prolonged swelling, painful scar tissue, or recurrence of the condition.

What will happen after the operation?

The operation is usually day case but you may need to stay overnight in hospital. The Podiatric or Orthopaedic surgeon will discuss this with you. You will be given special shoes to wear over your bandages and you must wear these whenever you want to walk. The shoes must be worn for 2 weeks. It takes the foot a good 4-6 months to fully settle down after surgery.

What happens when I leave hospital?

For the first 48 hours you will rest in bed with your legs elevated and should take the painkillers prescribed for you. You will be asked to do some foot exercises during this time. The bandages will be left on for 2 weeks. You will be given a dressing clinic appointment to have the bandages removed or be seen at your GP practice. You will be able to return to work from 2-6 weeks after the operation, depending on whether you need to stand or walk around a lot for your job. You will not be able to drive until you come out of the post-operative shoe.