Morton’s neuroma can be painful enough to disrupt daily life. Unfortunately, when you notice the pain, it’s likely to be quite developed.
While home therapies may alleviate some of the pain and inflammation, being regularly on your feet means the pain-relieving effects may not last as long as you’d like.
If you’ve tried those home remedies and had no luck, you may be wondering… Can physical therapy help Morton’s neuroma?
Can Physical Therapy Help Foot Neuroma?
While there’s no way to “cure” Morton’s neuroma, physical therapy may be helpful to reduce the pain and help lower inflammation in the ball of the foot. It’s a good choice if you’ve been trying home treatments, but they’re not working, and you don’t want to go for surgery on your foot.
As Morton’s neuroma is generally caused and aggravated by pressure or compression on the ball of the foot, a physiotherapist will work to reduce any compressive forces acting on your foot.
Physiotherapy may help reduce tightness of the foot muscles and even ease joint stiffness, which can have a knock-on effect on the metatarsal bones and surrounding tissues.
When tension is relieved in the tissues surrounding the neuroma, you’ll most likely notice the pain eases. There also may be less inflammation as the tissue has more “room to breathe.”
Regular physical therapy can give the tissues, nerves, and tendons time and space to heal that they wouldn’t otherwise have if you didn’t do the therapy.
When to Use Physical Therapy for Morton’s Neuroma?
Numerous home therapies are available for you to try when you first discover that you’re suffering from Morton’s neuroma. These may include things like:
- Wearing orthotics or inserts
- Ice therapy
- Compression gear
- Massage or stretching
- Taping your feet
- Steroid injections
- Reducing activity
However, there’s a chance that the neuroma may progress to the point where these treatments are no longer effective.
At this stage, you may feel like Morton’s neuroma surgery is your only option to get relief—but physical therapy can be a step before surgery.
Try going for physical therapy if nothing else has helped improve the pain and inflammation from your Morton’s neuroma. Or, if you’ve had moderate success with other methods, they seem to be getting less and less effective over time.
Types of Physical Therapy Treatment Options
Numerous types of treatment options fall under the umbrella of “physical therapy.” Some things may work better for some people but not for others.
However, it comes down to your level of comfort. Try a few different things before settling on one that works for you.
Soft Tissue Treatment
Soft tissue treatment encompasses many different deep tissue massage techniques. You may be able to do some of these at home, but a physical therapist can administer the massage more strongly and effectively.
These methods aim to ease the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the foot to reduce the pressure that causes the pain of Morton’s neuroma.
Depending on you, your case of Morton’s neuroma, and how you feel, the physical therapist may use techniques like:
- Myofascial release
- Transverse friction
- Trigger points
- Heat therapy
Electrotherapy is a specific type of soft tissue treatment. It uses an electrical current flowing through the affected area to alleviate pain and reduce swelling.
You get various types of electrotherapy, including:
- Electrical muscle stimulation (EMS)
- Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)
- Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NES)
- Pulsed Short -Wave Diathermy (PSWD)
- Low-Intensity Pulsed Ultrasound (LIPUS)
- Interferential Stimulation
- Laser treatment
Your physical therapist will assess your MN case before deciding which would work best for you. Different types of electrotherapy will be used at different stages of healing.
It’s important to note that you won’t “get shocked” during this treatment. It’s painless and easy and does no damage.
Ultrasound is a form of electrotherapy, but it uses sound waves to create energy that enters the body and heals using micro-vibrations.
This may sound like a strange “new-age” way of treating something as tangible as Morton’s neuroma, but it’s highly effective.
One of the things that ultrasound does is increase circulation in the spot that needs healing, which helps to bring nutrient- and oxygen-rich blood to the area.
Cold Laser Therapy
Cold laser therapy is similar to ultrasound because it uses waves of different frequencies to treat pain and inflammation. Instead of sound waves, it uses infrared light waves to penetrate the tissues and heal the cells.
It’s a painless treatment and may be effective at reducing the inflammation of the nerve sheath that covers the nerve between the toes that gets inflamed during Morton’s neuroma.
For those who have no problem with needles, acupuncture can be effective at treating Morton’s neuroma. Even if you aren’t a fan of needles, this treatment is surprisingly painless, although it may feel strange.
Special needles are placed at specific points in the foot, and they trigger the body to release endorphins, which are highly effective at lowering pain.
As well as releasing endorphins, acupuncture also triggers a flood of cortisol, effectively reducing inflammation in the body.
You can do stretching exercises for Morton’s neuroma by yourself at home. But a physiotherapist will be able to help you put together an effective stretching program for your own healing.
Usually, stretching programs are provided at the end of physical therapy so you can continue treatment at home.
The physical therapist will walk you through the exercises to ensure you’re doing them correctly before sending you home to continue working on them.
Maintaining a regular stretching program at home can help prevent the pain and inflammation from flaring up again. You should use this with other “treatments,” like wearing the right shoes or inserts.