Morton’s Neuroma in Both Feet? Bilateral Morton’s Neuroma Explained

Morton’s neuroma is a foot condition that can make everyday actions like standing and walking painful and uncomfortable.

Usually, you find Morton’s neuroma in the ball of one foot. However, in rare cases, you may develop Morton’s neuroma in both feet, which can double the pain and discomfort.

But a variety of other foot conditions may be mistaken for Morton’s neuroma. In order to treat it effectively, you need to make sure you truly do have the same condition in both feet.

Let’s look at the condition, how to know if you have it, and some ways you can treat it from home.

What Is Bilateral Morton’s Neuroma?

To understand what bilateral Morton’s neuroma is, we need first to understand what regular Morton’s neuroma is.

Morton’s neuroma is a foot condition that affects the nerve of the foot, usually between the third and fourth toes.

A hard, painful nodule develops as a result of injury or trauma to the foot. This results in the digital nerve thickening, which causes discomfort and pain as it presses against the soft tissues in the foot.

Bilateral Morton’s neuroma is when you develop this condition in both feet. This is rare, only occurring in 10 to 15 percent of Morton’s neuroma cases.

This is different from developing more than one neuroma in the same foot, which is even rarer.

Symptoms of Bilateral Morton’s Neuroma

Morton’s neuroma presents as a sharp, possibly burning pain in the ball of the foot. It’s often only in one foot, but in the case of bilateral Morton’s neuroma, this feeling will occur in the balls of both feet—usually in the same place, between the metatarsals of the third and fourth toes.

This pain will worsen when you walk and feel better when you rest your feet. It may be accompanied by a stinging sensation, numbness or tingling, or perhaps swelling in the ball of the foot.

You may also feel an annoying sensation as if a stone is stuck in your shoe underneath the ball of your foot.

Causes

Morton’s neuroma is generally caused by repetitive trauma to or pressure on the forefoot. However, this trauma or excessive pressure can happen in a variety of ways.

All three of these causes can contribute to Morton’s neuroma in just one foot or bilateral Morton’s neuroma.

Incorrect Footwear

Wearing narrow or tight shoes in the toe box can cause pressure on the nerve in the ball of the foot, leading to the thickening and development of Morton’s neuroma.

You may also be at risk of developing Morton’s neuroma if you wear high heels or other shoes that cause your body weight to shift onto your forefoot.

If your shoes have inadequate cushioning, the hardness of the ground and repetitive motion of your feet hitting the ground with no protection can cause Morton’s neuroma to develop.

Overloading the Feet

When a load is placed on the feet for a prolonged period of time or in a repetitive manner, Morton’s neuroma may develop.

This could be walking or running long distances, standing for many hours, or doing a high-impact activity that causes jarring on the feet.

Anatomical Problems

Various anatomical issues could also lead to the development of Morton’s neuroma. If your feet have a biomechanical instability that causes excess pressure on the forefoot, this can lead to Morton’s neuroma.

This could be high arches, flat feet—low arches—hammer toes, or bunions. Another factor that often contributes to Morton’s neuroma is the fat pad’s thinning on the ball of the foot, known as fat pad atrophy.

This leaves the metatarsals open to jarring, pressure, and pain every time you take a step.

Treatment

The best treatment for Morton’s neuroma is a combination of factors. You may need to make some lifestyle changes to protect your feet better.

RICE

The best treatment for acute pain from Morton’s neuroma is to apply the RICE principle. You should rest your feet, and you can apply ice to the painful areas for 15 to 20 minutes, three to four times a day.

Compression socks may or may not help, but they usually aren’t very compressive around the ball of the foot. You can elevate the feet if you wish, which can reduce swelling and inflammation in the foot.

Change Your Shoes

You may not realize that your shoes are contributing to your pain. Consider investing in new shoes that are more protective of your feet.

You should avoid wearing high heels and shoes with narrow, cramped toe boxes. Instead, choose a pair of shoes that has a low heel-to-toe drop to take pressure off your forefoot, a wide toe box to reduce pressure from the sides, and a cushioned sole to absorb shock.

Use Insoles or Met Pads

If you can’t find the right shoes or cannot get new ones right now, you can try adding an insole or a met pad to your current shoes. Insoles have been proven to improve the symptoms of Morton’s neuroma.

Choosing more cushioned insoles for morton’s neuroma can help to reduce shock on your feet. If you choose one with a met pad—or met pads on their own—it can help your metatarsals spread comfortably and take pressure off the ball of the foot, reducing pain.

Wear Thick Socks

If you are unable to invest in a cushioned insole, you can try to wear a pair of thickly padded morton’s neuroma socks instead. This will provide light cushioning and can help to reduce shock.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

If you’re carrying a few extra pounds, losing some weight can help to reduce pressure on your feet and lower your pain levels.

Maintain a healthy diet and try to avoid processed foods and sugar. According to the American Heart Association, you should exercise for at least 150 minutes a week.

Reduce High-Impact Activities

Whether you’re already exercising or you’re planning to start, you should try to limit yourself to low-impact activities. Choosing high-impact activities can place more pressure on the forefoot, worsening your pain.

Avoid running, jumping, and activities like jumping rope. Instead, you should consider cycling, rowing, swimming, or other low-impact activities.

Stretching or Massaging

To relieve pain and stiffness in the forefoot, you can stretch the ligaments, tendons, and muscles in the ball of the foot.

This can help to increase blood flow in the area, which can help to heal it and relieve pain. It also helps to move the inflamed nerve away from soft tissues that could place extra pressure on it.

As well as stretching to relieve pain, you can do some foot exercises to strengthen your ankles and toes. This can help to support the ball of the foot better and reduce pain and inflammation.

When Do You Need to See a Doctor?

If you’ve tried to treat your Morton’s neuroma at home, but you’ve had no relief in two to three weeks, you should consider consulting a doctor. You should see a doctor sooner than that if your pain gets worse.

Your doctor may recommend medications like non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, corticosteroid injections, or surgery as a last resort.

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