If you suffer from Morton’s neuroma, or pain in the ball of your feet typically between your third and fourth toes, there’s a good chance that you’d be willing to do anything to relieve that pain.
The good news is that you might be able to alleviate your pain if you take the time to stretch and strengthen your feet every day.
By just spending a little bit of time in the mornings and/or evenings, you should be able to reduce that pain in the ball of your feet.
Why You Should Stretch and Strengthen Your Feet If You Have Morton’s Neuroma
The reason you experience pain from your Morton’s neuroma is from a thickening of the tissue around your toes. When you stretch and strengthen your feet, there is less pressure on that tissue and therefore helps alleviate pain.
The more support you can provide to your arch, the less pain you should experience from your Morton’s neuroma.
The reason stretching may help is because it’s possible that everything is tight in the ball of your feet. It might be beneficial to loosen things up in your feet.
Plantar Fascia Stretch
Although you often feel pain from your plantar fascia in your heel, it can also move forward to the ball of your feet. If everything is tense in your plantar fascia, it could reverberate into your toes. By stretching your plantar fascia, you could alleviate pain in your toes.
To complete the plantar fascia stretch, simply use your hands to pull back on your toes toward you to stretch your plantar fascia. You may want to hold your heel in your other hand. For the stretch to be successful, you’ll need to do it for at least ten seconds.
Pain in your feet can sometimes be due to tight calves.
Simply stand in front of a wall with your hands placed on it. Step forward with one leg, but don’t bring your knee over your toes on the forward leg.
You should feel a gentle stretch in your leg that is behind. Make sure that you don’t stretch too deeply. Hold for as long as you’re able, ideally between 20-30 seconds.
Rolling Your Feet Stretch
Another great way is to just roll out your feet. Get a massage roller, a cold can of pop, a frozen bottle of water, or even a glass bottle and roll your feet underneath it.
While you do need resistance, the added benefit of a frozen bottle is that it can reduce inflammation.
You might even consider asking a family member, friend, or significant other if they would be willing to massage your feet or go and get a professional massage. One study found that massage can help patients with Morton’s neuroma in reducing their pain.
Strength and Balance Exercises
In addition to loosening things up in the ball of your foot, you’ll also want to make things stronger.
It’s a good chance that your foot muscles were originally weaker, which is why Morton’s neuroma appeared in the first place.
Toe Strengthening Exercise with Towel
One option is actually very simple. All you need is a towel or a small blanket.
Place it on the floor and then use your feet and toes to scrunch up the towel and unscrunch it.
If you want to make the exercise more challenging, try putting some sort of weight on the part of the towel that is farther away from you.
Remember to work yourself up, starting with something small and moving up to larger weights.
Balancing on One Foot
Another way to strengthen your feet is to do something that you do as a little kid: balance on one foot.
Make sure that you are near something like a wall or chair that you can hold onto, especially if you have issues with balance.
If you want to make the exercise more challenging, then you can do it with your eyes closed, but that probably shouldn’t be your first go-round. You can also try moving the opposite foot and see if you can still stay balanced.
Draw the Alphabet
If you want to work your foot (and brain!), then you can draw the alphabet with your foot. The great news is that you don’t even have to leave your couch to strengthen your feet this way!
Lead with your big toe and write each letter of the alphabet with your foot.
You can make this exercise more challenging by standing up and drawing the alphabet. You can also draw the alphabet backwards once your feet start to develop muscle memory for doing the alphabet forwards.
Another easier option if you don’t want to have to go through the alphabet is just to make figure eights. The way to get the best workout is to do bigger movements, so go through the largest range of motion that you can.
While Morton’s neuroma is always uncomfortable, the good news is that you can often treat it at home. Additionally, there are things you can do to strengthen and stretch your feet that will help you with alleviating pain.
In many cases, you can do these exercises from the couch and can even watch TV while doing what you can to help the pain subside. If you’re able to incorporate a cold element like the rolling your feet stretch, then you’ll also be helping with inflammation.
As you strengthen your legs, feet, and toes, you’ll be making great strides (literally!) forward to ensure you don’t feel that pebble pain between your feet anymore.