Morton's Neuroma Removal
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Morton's Neuroma Removal

En Español (Spanish Version)


Morton's neuroma is an inflammation of the nerves in the foot that go to the toes. Although the name includes the word “neuroma,” it is not really a tumor. It can affect any of the toes in the foot. However, it most often affects the nerves that run between the third and fourth or second and third toes. It is also known as an interdigital neuroma.

Parts of the Body Involved

  • Foot and toes

Reasons for Procedure

The procedure is done to alleviate pain and tingling caused by the inflammation.

Risk Factors for Complications During the Procedure

  • Smoking
  • Poor nutrition
  • Recent or chronic illness
  • Use of certain medications
  • Allergy to anesthesia
  • Diabetes
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Circulatory disorders

What to Expect

Prior to Procedure

  • Medical history
  • Physical exam
  • X-ray (done at times)

During Procedure

Anesthesia and/or sedation will be administered.


Local or general anesthesia will be used.

Description of the Procedure

A small incision is made on the top of the foot in the skin between the two toes that are affected by the neuroma. The neuroma is located and removed by cutting the nerve. The incision is closed with stitches and a bandage is applied. The stitches are usually removed in the doctor's office 7-10 days after the surgery.

Nerves of the Foot

Foot Anatomy Nerve and muscle

© 2008 Nucleus Medical Art, Inc.

After Procedure

A laboratory will exam the removed tissue.

How Long Will It Take?

The procedure typically takes less than one hour.

Will It Hurt?

Anesthesia prevents pain during the procedure. You may have some pain during recovery, but you will be given pain medication to relieve this discomfort.

Possible Complications

  • Recurrence of pain
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Recurrence of the condition

Average Hospital Stay

This procedure is usually done on an outpatient basis.

Postoperative Care

  • Keep the surgical area clean and dry.
  • Use compression and ice to prevent swelling, as directed by your doctor.
  • Keep your foot elevated.
  • Take antibiotics to prevent infection.
  • Take pain medication as directed by your doctor.


After Morton’s neuroma removal, about 80% of patients have good pain relief.

You'll 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. Your doctor may prescribe orthotics (supporting devices for your foot) to help prevent the condition from returning.

Call 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
  • Cough, shortness of breath, chest pain, or severe nausea or vomiting
  • New, unexplained symptoms


American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons

American Podiatric Medical Association


Alberta Podiatry Association

Canadian Podiatric Medical Association


American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons website. Available at: .

American Podiatric Medical Association website. Available at: .

Mann RA. Foot and ankle. In: DeLee and Drez's Orthopaedic Sports Medicine. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders; 2003:chap 30.

Morton's neuroma. EBSCO Health Library website. Available at: . Accessed March 25, 2008.

Scardina RJ, Lee SM. Frontera: Essentials of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Philadelphia, PA; Hanley and Belfus; 2002:chap 88.

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

Last reviewed January 2008 by John C. Keel, 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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