Morton’s neuroma complications – untreated morton’s neuroma
What happens if you leave Morton’s neuroma untreated? What are the long term complications of untreated Morton’s neuroma?
Morton neuroma can make walking difficult and can restrict weight bearing physical activities such as running, plying golf, tennis, skiing, soccer and football. Persons with this foot condition may also have trouble with any activities that put pressure on the foot, even pressing the gas pedal while driving. It may hurt to wear certain types of shoes, such as high-heels.
Generally untreated Morton’s neuroma gets worse and can progress to restrict all weight bearing activities eventually leading to a patients sitting or lying all day because weight bearing becomes just to painful. What started out as pain at the end of a long run or at the end of a ski day often eventually progress to the point where you can’t run or ski at all!
Often patients try to walk in a way that avoids putting weight on the ball of their Morton’s foot. After a while some individuals with Morton’s neuroma develop an abnormal walking pattern (which is called an “abnormal gait”) due to the continuous pain and pressure. This can then lead to other problems such as arthritis, and back pain.
Some studies have shown that up to 33% of all patients with pain in the ball of the foot have untreated Morton’s neuroma. So what start’s out as a mere painful inconvenience can unfortunately progress and have serious consequences…
Thankfully, there are now many procedures that can be performed to cure Morton’s neuroma without the need for surgery such as ultrasound guided radio frequency ablation, ultrasound guided cryo-surgery and ultrasound guided neurolytic injections.
Janet D. Pearl, MD, MSc is the Medical Director of The Center for Morton’s Neuroma and Complete Spine and Pain Care, an interventional and integrated Pain Management program located in Framingham, Massachusetts. Previously, Dr. Pearl was the Co-Director of the Pain Management Center at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, where she was also the Director of the Fellowship program. She is the former Director of a satellite pain center of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Pain Management Center, located at the HealthSouth Braintree Rehabilitation Hospital. Dr. Pearl held academic appointments at Harvard Medical School and Tufts Medical School. She serves on the Health Care Services Board of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents since 2000 as one of its physician representatives and is Chair of the Committee on Pain Management.