A Morton’s neuroma is a mass that normally occurs between the third and fourth toes at the ball of the foot. The tissue in this area creates pressure on the nerves, which can be extremely painful. Proper support of the arch can help to alleviate this problem, as well as exercises that can reduce stress. Foot exercises and Physical Therapy can be especially useful conservative Mortons neuroma treatment options in the early stages of Morton’s neuroma.
Foot exercises may be helpful in managing early-stage Morton’s neuroma for several reasons:
Stretching the connective tissue in the foot can decrease the stress placed on your neuroma. All stretches should be held for at least 10 seconds to provide the most benefit.
To perform a Manual Plantar Fascia stretch, grasp your heel in one hand. Place your other hand under the ball of your foot and toes. Gently pull your forefoot and toes back toward your shin, creating a pull along the bottom of the foot.
The Wall Stretch also can help loosen the connective tissue. Face a wall with your feet about shoulder width apart. Put your hands on the wall at shoulder height and step back with your right foot placing it about two to three foot lengths behind the left. Keeping your heels on the floor, bend your knees and lean into the wall.
The Bottle Roll can both stretch the foot and reduce inflammation. Using a glass bottle, or a plastic bottle full of ice, roll the bottle back and forth along the bottom of your foot. A glass bottle is rigid, so it provides good resistance, while a bottle full of ice provides the additional benefit of decreasing inflammation through cold application.
The Towel Stretch is an assisted stretching exercise. Sit on the floor with your leg straight in front of you. Place the ball of your foot in the middle of a towel. Grasp both ends of the towel and pull your forefoot back toward your shin.
The Figure Eight exercise does not require any additional equipment. To perform this, lead with your big toe and complete a figure-eight pattern with your foot. Move your foot through the largest range of motion that you are capable of.
The Alphabet exercise also requires no equipment and can be performed anywhere. Leading with your big toe, write the alphabet in the air with your foot.
The Towel Scrunch has a couple of different options you can try. Place a towel flat on the floor. Put your foot on the end closest to you. Using your toes, pull the towel toward you. To make this more difficult, you may put a weight on the end of the towel farthest from you.
Improved balance will increase your ability to perform activity with improved bio-mechanics, or proper motion. This may decrease the stress placed on the neuroma, which creates pain.To perform the Single Foot balance exercise, stand on one foot and balance for as long as you are able. You will want to make sure that you have a wall or counter near to help stabilize you if necessary. You may increase the difficulty by moving your opposite foot or closing your eyes. As your balance improves, you may do both at the same time. The Toe Raise exercise also has a variation you may try. Standing with your feet shoulder width apart, raise up onto your toes. You may do this with your eyes closed for increased difficulty.
While foot exercises can be helpful in managing Morton’s neuroma, incorporating additional foot care practices can maximize their benefits. These include: