Morton’s neuroma surgery

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What is Morton’s neuroma surgery?

For patients suffering from Morton’s neuroma, Morton’s neuroma surgery is a procedure carried out to remove the part of the damaged nerve or to take the pressure off the nerve by creating the space surrounding it.

What does Morton’s neuroma surgery involve?

Surgery is normally a day case procedure, performed under a general anaesthetic, with a post-operative local anaesthetic administered in the foot to minimise pain. A miniscule incision is made between the toes, either to make more space around the nerve by taking away the neighbouring tissue or to remove a portion of the nerve itself, which will result in the area between your toes becoming permanently numb.

Attending a pre-assessment screening is good way of maximising the benefits of your surgery. At your screening, you’ll have your blood tested to assess your Vitamin D levels; swabs will be taken to check for infection or other issues; you’ll be weighed and have a chance to talk through your medical history, to highlight any potential anaesthetics issues.

It is highly recommended that you stop smoking at least eight weeks before surgery because smoking affects your ability to heal and leads to health issues, such as greater risk of pulmonary embolism (blood clots forming in the lungs) or deep vein thrombosis (blood clots in the calf).

Why might I need Morton’s neuroma surgery?

If you are suffering from Morton’s neuroma, also known as Morton’s metatarsalgia, a condition where a nerve in the foot becomes irritated and extremely painful, you may need Morton’s neuroma surgery. It is normally found in the nerve between the third and fourth toes, but the second and third toes can be afflicted too. It may involve a single foot or both feet. Symptoms include:

  • Discomfort and a numb feeling between the toes
  • Extreme pain in the ball of the foot, as if a stone is digging into the foot
  • Walking exacerbates the pain, particularly if your shoes do not fit properly
  • Pain may travel along the foot or move up the leg. Going barefoot may improve this

How long does it take to recover?

After your surgery, your foot and ankle will be bandaged, and these bandages remain on for two weeks. You will be shown how to walk in your special orthopaedic shoe, which protects your foot. Most patients are able to go home on the same day as their operation.

You should try to rest your foot, keeping as much weight off it as possible, and keeping it raised above the level of your heart whenever you can, especially in the first week after your operation. Once this week has passed, your pain levels should have reduced greatly. Depending on your job, you may be able to return to work during the second week after your operation.

Around two to three weeks on, you can return to sporting activity, starting with low impact exercise and gradually increasing your activity level.

What is the long-term impact of Morton’s neuroma surgery?

Patients are able to resume their previous sporting activity around six weeks after their surgery. Some slight swelling may persist for up to twelve months.