Morton's neuroma can be incredibly painful. Treatments like wearing splints, icing your foot, and switching to wide-toe shoes may offer some relief for a while, but when these treatments stop keeping you comfortable, the next step is usually foot surgery. Thankfully, this is a rather routine procedure that most podiatric surgeons have performed many times. Once you know what to expect, you can proceed with confidence, knowing your foot pain is about to be alleviated.
How do you prepare for surgery?
Generally, before you are scheduled for surgery, you will have an in-depth consultation with the podiatrist who is going to perform the operation. During this consultation, they will likely examine images of your foot's internal structure and talk with you about the exact surgical approach they are going to take. They'll also give you some instructions for preparing in the days leading up to surgery. Morton's neuroma surgeries are usually performed under general anesthesia, which means you'll need to fast overnight before your surgery. You may also need to stop taking certain medications, such as anti-clotting medications and beta-blockers.
How is the procedure performed?
There are actually two different procedures that are routinely used for Morton's neuroma. The first is called nerve decompression surgery. In this procedure, the surgeon removes the swollen tissues around your nerve, which relieves pressure on the nerve, thereby putting an end to your neuroma symptoms.
The second procedure is called a neurectomy. It involves actually removing the inflamed, irritated nerve. This procedure is typically only done if the nerve itself is very swollen and damaged, and if it's suspected that decompressing the nerve alone won't give you enough relief.
Your podiatrist will tell you which procedure they play to use prior to your surgery. Either way, you won't be aware of what's happening since you're under anesthesia. When you wake up, your foot will be wrapped up, and after being put in a boot, you can return home to recover. (Some patients do stay overnight in the hospital before being sent home.)
How long does recovery take?
The recovery process for Morton's neuroma surgery can be a bit challenging, but with your doctor's guidance, you will make it through! You'll need to stay off of your foot for a couple of weeks, and then wear a boot and walk very gingerly for another month or two. Most patients can return to full, weight-bearing exercise and the line about 2 or 3 months after surgery.
Morton's neuroma can be incredibly painful, but you do not have to allow it to run your life. Opt for surgery; relief is just around the corner.