Foot Pain: Morton’s Neuroma—How it Responds to Acupuncture

Morton’s neuroma is a condition I have seen frequently in my acupuncture clinic. The patient will come in complaining of pain, tingling and sometimes numbness between the toes, usually between the third and fourth, sometimes between the second and third. When walking it will often feel like there is a pebble or sharp object in the shoe.

Morton’s neuroma is caused by a thickening of fibrous tissue that surrounds the interdigital plantar nerves, causing symptoms by putting pressure on the nerves. 

And how does this happen? The condition is 5 times more prevalent among women than men. Possibly, wearing shoes with high heels and pointed toes puts too much pressure on the front of the foot. Morton’s neuroma can also occur when the anterior transverse arch of the foot has collapsed, which also puts pressure on the front of the foot. This collapse is a secondary result of flat feet, or a collapse of the longitudinal arch, a condition quite common in today’s world where we grow up wearing shoes and walking on hard surfaces. 

Acupuncture is usually quite effective at treating acute cases of morton’s neuroma. After three to five treatments, the patient often gets 50% relief, and after another 3-7 treatments, complete relief. The acupuncture technique and acupuncture point locations are pretty specific for this condition.

The patient can improve results by doing 3 things—wearing a metatarsal foot pad, available in most drug stores; not wearing shoes with heels higher than 1 inch; and if possible, refraining from activities that make the condition worse. If the condition responds slowly, the patient should consider visiting a podiatrist and getting custom fitted for foot orthotics. (1)

 (1) Matt Callison, L.Ac., Sports Medicine Acupuncture, San Diego, CA. Acusport Education, 2019, pp 974-977

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