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Definition | Reasons for Procedure | Possible Complications | What to Expect | Call Your Doctor


Mortons neuroma is an inflammation of a nerve in the foot that goes to the toes. Surgical treatment involves removing the area of inflammation and the nerve.

Reasons for Procedure

Mortons neuroma can cause pain and tingling. Mortons neuroma removal is done to lessen these symptoms. After the removal, most patients have good pain relief.

Possible Complications

If you are planning to have this removal, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:

  • Recurrence of pain
  • Numbness in the nearby toes
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Poor wound healing

Some factors that may increase the risk of complications include:

  • Smoking
  • Poor nutrition
  • Long-term illness
  • Use of certain medications
  • Diabetes
  • Bleeding disorders

What to Expect

You doctor may do the following:

  • Medical history
  • Physical exam
  • X-ray of the foot

Local or general anesthesia will be used. Local anesthesia will numb the area. With general anesthesia, you will be asleep.

A small incision will be made on the top of the foot. It will be made between the two toes that are affected by the neuroma. The area of inflammation and the nerve will be located and removed. The incision will then be closed with stitches. A bandage will be applied over the area.

Nerves of the Foot

Foot Anatomy Nerve and muscle
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

The removed tissue will be examined in a lab. The results may take several days.

Often less than one hour

Anesthesia prevents pain during the procedure. You may have some pain during recovery. Talk to your doctor about medication to help relieve this pain.

If there were no complications, you may be able to leave the same day.

When you return home, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:

  • Keep the surgical area clean and dry.
  • Ask your doctor about when it is safe to shower, bathe, or soak in water.
  • Use compression and ice to prevent swelling as directed by your doctor.
  • Keep your foot elevated.
  • Take antibiotics to prevent infection if advised by your doctor
  • Take pain medication as directed by your doctor.

The stitches are usually removed in the doctor's office 7-10 days after the surgery. You will gradually be able to return to full activities within 3-6 weeks. The small area where the nerve was removed is likely to remain numb.

Call Your Doctor

After you leave the hospital, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:

  • Signs of infection, including fever and chills
  • Redness, swelling, increasing pain, excessive bleeding, or discharge from the incision site
  • Pain that you cannot control with the medications you have been given
  • Recurrence of the symptoms in your foot, or new, unexplained symptoms

In case of an emergency, call for medical help right away.


American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons


American Podiatric Medical Association



College of Podiatric Physicians of Alberta


Canadian Podiatric Medical Association



Morton neuroma. EBSCO Health Library website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/healthLibrary/. Updated July 26, 2013. Accessed August 9, 2013.

Mortons neuroma. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons' OrthoInfo website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00158. Updated September 2012. Accessed August 9, 2013.

Thomson CE, Gibson JN, Martin D. Interventions for the treatment of Mortons neuroma. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2004;CD003118.

Last reviewed August 2013 by Rimas Lukas, MD; Michael Woods, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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