Morton’s Neuroma Surgery: Days 22-31

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A quick run through the fourth week of my recovery following surgery to remove a Morton's Neuroma from between toes two and three…

Day 22 (Monday) – three weeks after the surgery and guess what? I can get a proper shoe on again! A friend took me out for lunch and I decided to try a pair of trainers and not only could I get them on but my foot felt pretty comfortable too. I didn't walk far – just from the house to car, car to cafe and then the reverse journey – but it made such a difference wearing shoes instead of Crocs! I'm still limping heavily and walking slowly but this is definitely progress.

Day 23 (Tuesday) – this evening I went out to a meeting for a local support group I help at. Feeling like I'm limping less, and my scar is becoming less sensitive. Something I have noticed though is that I get a strange “electric shock” type feeling in the bottom of my foot sometimes. I guess it's the remaining nerve stump being stimulated. When I rub the bottom of my foot one way it's fine but the other way I get this odd feeling. It's not painful, but it is slightly disconcerting, especially when I walk on a knobbly bit of ground and get a shock in my foot! I'm also finding that while I can normally put my foot flat on the floor, first thing in the morning and in the evenings I still get some pain and find it more comfortable putting my weight more on the edge of my foot.

Day 24 (Wednesday) took myself off for a “proper” walk today to our local Tesco. When I've walked there in the past it's taken me seven or eight minutes to get there, so a round trip of about 30 mins including buying a thing or two. The trip this time – walking there, buying four things, walking back – took me an hour! Yes, I was very slow, and limped a lot, and my foot was quite tender and a little bit swollen when I got back, but I did make it! Definitely on the mend :)

Days 25-27 (Thursday to Saturday) haven't really done much, I've been at home mainly but had a meeting and a social event, and each day I've felt my foot get less sore, stronger and I'm starting to walk a bit faster too. In fact on Saturday we went to a local beauty spot to take photos of the bluebells and I was able to walk round for half an hour in relative comfort. I can almost walk downstairs normally too – I need to take some of my weight on the banister but I don't have to go sideways any more! The scabs have almost entirely gone now, though the top of my foot around the scar site is still quite tender at times.

Days 29-30 (Sunday-Monday) Went down to Brighton to visit my daughter. Did quite a lot of walking over the two days – well, a lot in relation to the little I've done for the last four weeks! I'm still quite slow and if I walk on uneven ground I still get the odd electric shock feeling in the sole of my foot (those knobbly paving slabs at road crossings are a bugger). I also found both my legs ached, I guess just because I haven't really walked any distance for a month. But overall I did okay, and there was little or no swelling either.

Day 31 (Tuesday) big achievement this evening – I drove my car! Steve came out with me in case I found it too painful but it was fine. Ok I didn't drive far, just round the block really, probably about a mile, but I changed gear plenty of times and while I did have a bit of pain in my foot when I used the clutch it was only very slight. Don't think I'd want to do a long drive at the moment, but I am hoping to drive for half an hour later this week to get to a meeting. Fingers crossed! And now I am able to drive again I'm hoping I can resume some exercise – swimming at least, if not Aquafit too. Will ring the hospital tomorrow and ask for their advice.

So it's a month and a day after surgery and I'm well on the way to recovery. I think the two bits of advice I'd like to pass on to anyone else undergoing surgery for Mortons Neuroma are:

1. Give yourself time to recover from the surgery. I allowed myself a week off work but actually I really struggled with concentration the following week, and trying to work effectively while keeping my foot elevated was difficult. If I was to go though this again I would definitely give myself two clear weeks before I attempted any work.

2. Be patient. I've found it quite frustrating not being able to drive, or walk downstairs properly, or walk any distance. However, I have been good, and rested and not pushed things too fast, and I think that might be why, a month on, I'm doing well.

Other than the above I've had a good experience and the problems I had with my foot before – the burning pain in the ball of my foot, the swelling across the top, the constant sharp shooting pains up my foot and into my ankle – all seem to have been resolved by the surgery. Fingers crossed that's the end of it and I won't have any more problems. I'm even quite happy with the scar – there are still a few scabby bits but it's looking pretty good and I think. Once it's fully healed it won't be too noticeable at all!

 

Morton’s Neuroma Surgery – Days 16-21

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Here's another update on my recovery following surgery to remove a Morton's Neuroma. If you would like to see all the posts on this topic, click here.

Day 16 (Tuesday)

So today was the day I had my stitches out, and I couldn’t wait because they had been really aggravating me – pulling and making my foot quite sore, both at rest and when I move around. However, I was also a little apprehensive about having them out – would it hurt? Well yes it did a little, but it was completely bearable and the difference is amazing. The nurse said the stitches were pretty tight and she had to tug each one (there were four) quite hard to get enough room to put a curved scalpel underneath to snip the stitch. It stung a bit, both during and after, but it didn’t last long. The wound has been dressed with a simple dressing – no more bandage! – and it feels quite weird walking around actually on my foot now. I’m still putting my weight on the side of my foot rather than squarely on it, so that’s the challenge for the next few days. I had a few questions about where I go from here:

  • The special shoe – the nurse said there’s no real need to wear it if I can walk comfortably in “normal” soft shoes e.g. trainers or Crocs.
  • Driving – by law I can’t drive until I can perform an emergency stop i.e. putting equal pressure on both pedals at the same time. Don’t feel nearly ready for that yet, so it will be a week or two at least, I think.
  • Sport – I asked about swimming and she advised I wait several weeks as apparently the wound can take up to a year to heal properly internally. I can understand that for more physical exercise but might call the hospital in a couple of weeks and ask them about gentle swimming
  • Showering – it’s fine to get the wound wet now. There is some slight scabbing from the stitches, which is why I’ve got a dressing on it, and a spare, but once that goes I no longer need to keep it covered, and yes, I can have a proper shower at last. Hurray!

Day 17 (Wednesday)

Today is the first day when I can really see things are getting better. I started the day by having a PROPER shower – not a carrier bag or Limbo in sight – bliss! I changed the dressing and had a good look at the wound; there are still some small scabs but it looks fine, and the ridge where the skin had been pulled together has flattened out nicely. And I put on socks – my own socks – rather than the sock I borrowed from my partner because it was big enough to fit over the bandage! Then I did pretty much a full day”s work at my desk, the first since the operation, working from 9-12 and 1-5 without having my foot up. Took an hour off for lunch and to walk my daughter to the bus stop and back – no distance at all really, but the furthest I've walked so far, and in Crocs rather than the orthopaedic shoe. By 5pm my foot was feeling a little tender so I called it a day and put it up for a while. But overall everything is feeling like it's getting better now.

Days 18-21 (Wednesday to Sunday)

My foot has been feeling much better and I can even put it flat on the ground now when I walk, which obviously makes walking a lot easier. Stairs are still quite awkward though. It's funny how you don't realise which bits of your body you use to do certain things till you can't use them properly. Going upstairs is fine and I can take them normally now, rather than one step at a time. But coming down, if I lead with my bad leg then all my weight lands on the ball of my foot, which hurts, and if I lead with my good leg then I leave all my weight on the ball of the bad one, which hurts! So I'm still coming down one at a time and sideways.

On day 20 we went to an auction – we go quite regularly, but this was the first time since the surgery. I tried on an old pair of trainers and yay, I could get them on because the swelling has gone right down, but after wearing them for a few minutes I decided that it felt too tight acros my foot and might be uncomfortable so I stuck with the Crocs. The auction involved quite a lot of walking round the room looking at lots, and after half a hour of that my foot was quite sore and achey. Luckily I managed to find a seat for most of the day, but my foot did hurt and look a bit swollen by the end of the day. Spent Sunday resting it as much as I could and it feels much better now! I've kept a dressing over the scar this week as when I walk I can feel the top of my shoe rubbing on it, and it's quite tender still. Interestingly I still have some bruising coming out, nearly three weeks after surgery, round the ankle rather than near the incision site.

 

 

Morton’s Neuroma Surgery: Days 8-15

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Following surgery for removal of an inflamed nerve caused by Morton’s Neuroma, I’ve been keeping a journal of my recovery. I hope it will help anyone else considering surgery for this not uncommon (but not well known) foot complaint.

Day 8 – Monday

Today was my first day back to work following surgery. Luckily I work from home so I was able to do what needed doing throughout the day. Part of the time I put my foot across and up on a chair, which was comfortable, but working sideways at the desk wasn’t entirely successful! I was able to do quite a lot of things that way though. When I found it too difficult to actually work I did put my foot down on the floor (well, on the footrest I use normally) for short periods of time, usually ten to fifteen minutes or so, and then put it back up on the chair for a while. Alternating like this I was able to work at my desk from about 9am to 2pm by which time my foot was starting to feel quite uncomfortable, not painful as such but more heavy and throbbing a little, so I decided that it was time to stop. I cooked some pasta for lunch and then retired to the sofa for the rest of the afternoon, with my foot raised on the cushion while I got on with some proofreading, which worked out okay. In the evening I decided to cook dinner as I was fed up with being so helpless around the house. Think that was a bad decision, as my foot was quite painful by the time I finished, even though I kept sitting down in between doing things, and in the evening I had to have a codeine as well as paracetamol. However, despite all the activity the swelling in my foot has gone right down, to the extent that the bandage is now quite loose. When I walk with the special shoe on, the bandage moves around and there’s something in it (dried blood, perhaps) that keeps rubbing on the incision site and hurting it. Might have to do something about that. I had my first shower tonight (I’ve been having good washes up till now), which was lovely but a bit scary! I put my foot in a thick plastic bag and taped it round my leg and used the hand shower to wash me whilst keeping it away from my foot as much as possible. After a while I was convinced I could feel water dripping onto my heel so I quickly finished and got out, and then couldn’t get the bag off my foot! Must have been my imagination as everything was dry, thank goodness.

Day 9 – Tuesday

Today was my Grandad’s funeral, in Cardiff, and despite being pretty immobile still I was determined I wasn’t going to miss it. Normally I’d have driven there but as that was out of the question we’d arranged a lift for my mum, my son and me to Didcot station, then train to Cardiff and taxi to the crematorium. I was a bit apprehensive about walking into the station, up the stairs and along the platform but it wasn’t too bad (typically our platform was the only one without a lift!) and once on the platform my mum let me put my foot up on her lap! The train wasn’t too busy so I nabbed two seats and had my foot up and into the aisle for the entire journey, which really helped. Again at Cardiff station I came down the stairs and out into the concourse and it was a bit sore by the time we were in a taxi but not too bad. The worst part was during the funeral service, as I felt it was disrespectful to sit when everyone else was standing, and I was also doing a reading, which involved standing – and then standing around afterwards chatting too. The wake was in a pub so once upstairs (stairs again!) I was able to sit and elevate my foot, and the return journey was much the same as the first leg (haha), with my foot across the seat and into the aisle. However, despite elevating my foot whenever possible there was a fair amount of walking and standing involved throughout the day and while I managed, by the time I got home at 9pm I was exhausted and my foot was really quite painful. Definitely too much, too soon. Had the last two codeine before bed, but slept well, with my foot on a cushion. The bandage is really loose now and irritating me, so I’m going to get it sorted tomorrow.

Day 10 – Wednesday

Today I made an appointment to see the practice nurse at my doctor’s surgery because (a) the bandage round my foot is now so loose it’s slipping, especially when I walk with the orthopaedic shoe on, which is uncomfortable, (b) as the bandage moves there’s definitely something scratching in the wound, which is making it quite sore, and (c) I was a bit concerned I might have overdone it with all the walking and standing yesterday, so it would be good to get a look and check I hadn’t burst my stitches or anything! Saw the nurse at lunchtime and she took the dressing off and put on a new, tighter one. She had a good look at my foot and said it’s healing well and there are no signs of any infection, which is good. There was some dried blood on the underneath of the dressing so she thinks that’s what’s been rubbing against the scar as the bandage moves. So I’m home now with a nice clean tighter bandage. Anyway, I got a good look at my foot and was pleased to see that there’s a lot less bruising than I expected, the swelling isn’t bad at all either and the actual cut, while it is a bit unpleasant with the stitches in, is only about an inch, an inch and a half long so I don’t think the scar will be too unsightly. I have promised myself a pedicure once it’s all healed!

Days 11-15 (Thursday to Monday)

While I was relieved to see that the wound was healing well and I hadn’t done any sort of damage to the stitches with all the walking the funeral involved, I’ve been a bit disappointed with how my healing has gone over the last few days. The stitches feel tight and uncomfortable, painfully so towards the end of each day, and I’ve been resorting to some co-codamol in the evenings. I’ve been walking round the house a fair bit but seem to be walking on the side of my foot because pressure on the ball is still painful. I also get quite a lot of pain in my heel when I stand or walk, I guess because it is taking all my weight (and there’s plenty of that). I’m also concerned that as well as the numbness between the two toes, which I knew I’d have, every toe just feels a bit… not quite numb, but not as sensitive as the toes on my other foot, and I’ve had quite a lot of tingling and pins-and-needles type sensation in my foot. I guess when a nerve is “damaged” in the way mine was during the surgery, there’s bound to be some disruption to the nervous system generally, and hopefully all this will settle down in the coming weeks. Anyway, tomorrow I am going to have the stitches out and I’m hopeful that things will get much better after that, as most of the pain and discomfort I’m having is from the stitches. I’ve also discovered that the surgery has affected my concentration – I’ve tried to work during this week but haven’t been able to focus because having my leg up/down/up again, having pins and needles and everything else has just been too distracting. The work I have managed to do has not been up to my usual standard either. It got to the point where I just decided that to carry on doing sub-standard work was going to be no good for anyone, so I threw in my hat and took the rest of the week off. If I was to go through this procedure again I think I would book myself two weeks off work rather than one. Oh, one good thing – I found a “Limbo” waterproof arm covering that I bought for my son a few years ago when he broke his arm, and it just about fits over my foot and halfway up my leg, so showering has been a lot easier!

 

Morton’s Neuroma Surgery: Days 2-7 after the operation

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Following surgery for removal of an inflamed nerve caused by Morton's Neuroma, I've been keeping a journal of the recovery. I hope it will help anyone else considering surgery for this not uncommon foot complaint.

Day 2 Tuesday

Well I had a good night's sleep, thank goodness. I folded a pillow in half and was able to prop my foot up comfortably, and I was even able to keep it that way while I slept on my side. Slept through from half ten to seven. When I woke up it felt fine, but after a while I was aware of some pain, I think from the stitches, so the codeine etc were very welcome and definitely helped. I've spent today on the sofa with my foot propped up on a large cushion, which is very comfy. The pain throughout the day has been okay …. After about three hours I can feel the painkillers wear off but it doesn't get unbearable, just a bit stingy at the moment. The insides of the two toes where the nerve was removed are completely numb, which feels very odd! Not sure if that's the permanent numbness or if it's partly the local anaesthetic that was injected in during surgery. Guess we'll have to wait and see. I haven't moved around too much, but it's definitely less painful using the surgical shoe than walking barefoot, and if I catch the front of my foot on the floor it's very painful, so I won't be doing that too often!

Day 3 Wednesday

Feeling very drowsy today. Slept well but then struggled to stay awake, and spent half the day in bed. Feel very disorientated, dizzy, spaced out. Not sure if it's a hangover from the general anaesthetic, or the combination of painkillers (paracetomol, codeine, diclofenac), or both. Dozed and slept all morning, but got up at lunchtime and had a good wash. However, spending 5-10 minutes on my foot made it really painful, a hot burning pain, so I won't be doing that again for a while!

Day 4 – Thursday

Feeling much better today. In fact it wasn't till today that I realised just how awful I felt yesterday! Pain is minimal, I'm pleased to report … I've only taken painkillers twice so far (8am and 3pm) and apart from the occasional sharp stinging pain from the stitches if I move a bit quickly, I've had no pain. Of course I'm still keeping off my foot completely, and when I do go to the loo etc I'm walking on the heel or side of my foot. If I catch the bottom it hurts! I was expecting my toes to swell but they don't seem to have done so far … But when I put both feet next to each other my left foot is actually very swollen. Bored of sitting down … Looking forward to being more mobile.

Day 5 – Friday

Today I felt absolutely fine in myself, definitely over the anaesthetic, and very little pain from my foot too – still the odd sharp pain from the stitches but other than that I feel like I want to get up and get going! Frustrating when I do, though, because though I can put a little weight on my foot I can't move anywhere at more than snail's pace. This evening we went to the pub – I thought the change of scenery would do me good – but we only lasted half an hour. The pub was busy and I had a seat but was only able to raise my foot about six inches off the floor and very soon it was throbbing and pulsing in a very alarming manner. I kept it up all evening and it felt okay by bedtime but I think having it up above hip height all week and then having it down for half an hour was too much too soon. I've been avoiding the codeine for the last couple of days as I think it was bunging me up a little inside (constipation is a common side effect) but I did take two this evening.

Day 6 – Saturday

Decided I need to get my foot used to being down by doing it in small bits rather than all at once, so today I've spent at least part of each hour with my foot on the floor. Doesn't feel too bad, just a bit hot and heavy at times.

Day 7 – Sunday

Feeling much more energetic today, did a few small jobs in the kitchen (buttering bread, making tea), pushed the Hoover round the hall, that kind of thing. The swelling seems top be going down nicely and there's still no bruising on my toes. Went to the pub again this afternoon and watched the football, had my foot on a chair and it was fine. Nice to get out of the house for a couple of hours! I can move reasonably ok on it, so long as I can go at my own pace (slowly) but we did stop at a shop on the way home and I walked in, round and out, and discovered that was probably too much. Still keeping most of the weight on the heel, though I'm gradually starting to put a little pressure on the front and it doesn't feel too bad. Worst problem is thst as it heals the stitches are starting to pull, and especially in the evening I am experiencing some sharp stinging pain – but nothing a couple of paracetomol can't fix.

 

Surgery for Morton’s Neuroma: the day of the operation

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I first got a Morton's Neuroma (MN from hereon!) in my left foot, between toes two and three, back in 2010. (Read my last blog posts about it here and here.) Initially I had a cortisone injection to zap it. That lasted for about a year, but a second injection lasted only a few months and also caused one of my toes to become deformed. I could have had surgery to correct the toe, but it sounded pretty unpleasant, had a long recovery time and anyway, the pain I have been experiencing has all been from the MN. So yesterday I had day surgery at the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre (NOC) in Oxford to excise it – basically to cut out the section of nerve that has become inflamed. Here are my thoughts on the surgery. I'll be updating this blog with my progress regularly in the hope that it will be of interest to anyone else thinking of having MN surgery!

Having surgery is never an easy decision, and having elective surgery even less so, but the MN has been causing me a lot of pain for months now, not just when I walk but also through giving me shooting pains in my foot when I'm at rest. I could have continued with cortisone injections but frankly the effects of the last one lasted less than six months and I couldn't contemplate having to have them for the rest of my life, so despite the risks of any operation I decided surgery was the best option.

Surgery

I arrived at the day surgery unit at the NOC at 7am yesterday, accompanied by Steve. Nothing much happened till about 9am when an assistant to my consultant asked me a few screening questions – did I have asthma, did I smoke, how much did I drink, that kind of thing. A while later my consultant Mr Lavis came to see me, accompanied by a junior doctor, who was very interested to examine my poor deformed foot! Mr Lavis talked me through the procedure, marked up my foot to ensure he operated on the correct one, and answered my questions, mainly around how soon I could be walking properly (2 weeks) and driving (2-4 weeks or thereabouts, possibly as many as 6) again, how long complete recovery would be (perhaps as long as two months) and what side effects there could be (definitely numbness between the two toes, because of the nerve removal; a possibility that the remaining part of the nerve could form another neuroma, which would need treatment; a rare but unpleasant sounding condition where the entire nervous system in the foot goes haywire; plus the usual risks and side effects of having a general anaesthetic). Surgery would involve going in through the top of my foot, moving the toe bones apart and cutting out the affected bit of nerve. He would also inject plenty of local anaesthetic in there to relieve the pain immediately after surgery.

Then an hour or so later a nurse came to do a pre-op assessment, which included taking my whole medical history, weighing me, measuring me, and taking my temperature and blood pressure. She also gave me a pressure stocking which I needed to wear on the opposite leg when I went into theatre, and then all the time till I'm back to full mobility (2 weeks). Felt like we were getting somewhere now! But typically I was the last person on the ward to go down to surgery. The anaesthetist came to visit me at about 12.30 to introduce herself, and it wasn't till 1.30 that I was finally taken down to theatre. By then I was very hungry, having not eaten since 8pm the previous night!

Once I was down in theatre I got onto a trolley and the team hooked me up with all sorts of monitors on my chest, to measure heart rate and oxygen levels, and also put a cannula into the back of my hand, which was a bit uncomfortable but not too bad. They then told me they were going to give me something that would be like having a G&T. “More like half a dozen!” I giggled as my head went all woozy. And that was the last thing I remembered …

… Until I woke up in recovery just before 3pm, freezing cold, wearing some sort of woolly hat and convinced I was in my friend Andrea's caravan in Portugal and the rain was beating down on the roof. Very weird! The HDU nurse was lovely and got me some extra blankets, and folded one and put it over my head. (Strange, I was convinced I had a woolly hat on … But maybe I was imagining that as well as the rain!) She also got me some water, which was very welcome as my throat felt quite dry and sore; I think I probably had an oxygen tube down there while I was in theatre. My foot felt sore, very stingy, and the cannula hurt too, especially when the blood pressure cuff I appeared to be wearing kept tightening up, so she gave me a couple of codeine tablets, which helped. I was very drowsy and kept closing my eyes, but eventually I managed to come back down to earth. I had a look at my foot and was surprised that it was only my foot that was bandaged – I've done a lot of research into MN surgery and have seen people with bandages up to their knees, so mine looks quite minimalistic!

After about half an hour I was taken back to the ward and there, waiting for me, was a cup of tea, an egg and cress sandwich and some biscuits, as well as my lovely Steve, who had waited there the whole time and had had nothing to eat but a couple of custard creams! The tea was especially welcome. My foot felt pretty good, considering, and I was able to hop into a wheelchair to go to the loo. A student nurse did a few tests – blood pressure, temperature, checke I had blood flow to my foot – and I was told I'd be able to go home at 5:15, but by the time I'd been given my discharge instructions and meds it was nearly 6pm, meaning we'd been there for eleven hours!

So the discharge instructions are that I have to elevate my foot as much as possible – preferably above my hips – for the next five days or so, standing only to get to and from bed and to go to the loo. Good excuse to put my feet up, relax and let everyone pamper me! When I do walk I need to wear an incredibly stylish black orthopaedic shoe, and put my weight entirely on my heel for the first few days, and then gradually increase the pressure on the front of my foot as it begins to feel more comfortable. Hopefully next week I should be able to walk fairly normally, but I need to keep the shoe on for a good few weeks. Actually I'm slightly confused as to how long. The discharge nurse said I needed to wear it for six weeks, but my consultant suggested I could start driving in 2-4 weeks when it feels comfortable – but I don't think I could drive in the shoe! I might have to phone and ask in a few weeks time. I was also given a fun bag of medications – codeine and paracetomol to take four times a day, and diclofenac to have three times. It's not been feeling too sore this evening, but I've taken the meds anyway; the diclofenac is especially important as it's an anti inflammatory, and I need to keep any swelling to a minimum (which is what the elevation is all about). I 've made an appointment with the practice nurse at my doctor's surgery (which just happens to be literally over the road from me) to have the stitches out in a couple of weeks, and I have a follow up appointment at the NOC for the end of May. And the biggest problem is I have to keep the bandage clean and dry, which means no proper showers for a few weeks … Aargh!

Despite spending far too long at the hospital, it's not been a bad experience overall, the pain is definitely manageable and I'm looking forward to a few days of bed rest and a fast recovery!

 

My Morton’s Neuroma … Preparing for Surgery

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Back in September 2010 I wrote an entry about my Morton’s Neuroma, which I had just had a cortisone injection for. Then in January this year I wrote an update, about how a second cortisone injection had actually damaged my toe and I was now waiting for surgery for removal of the inflamed nerve.

This is just to say my surgery is scheduled for Monday 7th April. I’m having it done under general anaesthetic, and as far as I can tell I’ll need to be completely off my feet for a few days, and will be unable to drive for 2-4 weeks at least. So I’ve cleared the boards in terms of client work, and will be taking it easy for a week or so while I get over the surgery.

What I will be doing is taking a photo of my foot every day, and reporting on how the procedure went and the recovery is going – for the benefit of anyone else dealing with the same problem.

Update on my Morton’s Neuroma – Scheduled for Surgery!

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This post will only be of interest to anyone else suffering from Morton’s Neuroma. I hope it (and the entries that follow) will be of interest. Otherwise, move along, nothing to see here!

2014-01-16 08.11.46Back in 2010 I wrote a post about my Morton’s Neuroma. It started as some mild discomfort in the ball of my foot, very quickly became quite uncomfortable and then very painful to walk on, and then my second and third toes started to part company, leaving my foot making a permanent V-sign. The doctor had never seen anything like it before but thought it was a Morton’s Neuroma. This is not quite as scary as it is – it’s not a neuroma (lump) at all, but an inflammation of the nerve that runs between the toe bones. It normally happens between toes 3 and 4 but can also affect toes 2 and 3. It’s not known what causes a Morton’s Neuroma but everything I read suggested it was down to footwear – high heels and narrow shoes. That confused me, because I have never worn high heels – I genuinely can’t, I can’t walk in them! – and I normally wear flat, wide toed shoes. anyway, an ultrasound scan confirmed that I had not one but two Morton’s Neuromas in my left foot – one large one between toes 2 and 3, and a smaller one between 3 and 4. I had a cortisone injection, which relieved the problem, but sadly the effects were only temporary and about a year later the neuroma was again causing me a lot of pain. A second cortisone injection followed – it was incredibly painful to endure, and this time the effects only lasted around six months. I got to the stage where I started avoiding walking where I could … And then my toe started curling up, and a trip back to the doctor was called for!

I was referred to the Nuffield Orthaepedoc Hospital in Oxford last July and saw the lovely Mr Lavis, who arranged an X ray for my foot. It showed that my toes are much closer together than they should be – so developing Morton’s Neuromas was a done deal really because of my natural physiology. He also said that the cortisone injections had actually done some damage to my foot. The protective sheath around the bones in toe 2 had been destroyed, causing the bones to rub together and toe 2 to move as far right as it could to find some space – resulting in a hammer toe! At the time I was having a lot of pain from my bent toe rubbing on my shoe, and the doctor said I could have surgery to correct the problem – but it would involve filing the bone down, pinning it all back together and the recovery time would be around 4 months! All sounded a bit drastic, and there was a concern about anaesthetic risks as I’m a big girl, so I was adviced to go away and think about it and come back in six months.

The return appointment was yesterday and over the months I have got used to the hammer toe, it’s not such a problem – but the Morton’s Neuroma has got much worse. I experience shooting pains in my toes daily, my foot is often swollen and walking is uncomfortable at best and downright painful at worst, so I avoid it when I can. I haven’t lost any weight, I want to get fitter but when just a few steps brings on the pain it’s proving difficult. So I told the consultant all this and said I knew surgery to remove the damaged nerve was a possibility. He suggested another cortisone jab – on the grounds that it can’t really make my deformed toe any worse – but I don’t want to spend the rest of my life having steroid injections every few months, and I can’t see it being a permanent solution when the two I’ve already had have been a short term measure. So he seed that surgery is the best option. Basically the top of my foot will be cut open and the inflamed section of nerve removed. I’ll have some numbness in my foot as a result, but hopefully I’ll be a ble to walk without pain once it’s all healed. A quick check of my BMI (a scarily high number – but fortunately well below the threshold for surgery) later and I’m on the list for Morton’s Neuroma surgery in late spring. Watch this space for updates on the operation and my recovery!

 

My Morton’s Neuroma

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I’ve been experiencing quite a lot of pain in my left foot over the last few months – pain when I walk, shooting pains in m toes and the ball of my foot and so on. It’s been especially painful when driving as the area affected is right where you push the clutch pedal. When I noticed a strange v’shaped gap between two toes I decided to see the doctor, who said he’d never seen anything like it before but thought it was something called Morton’s Neuroma.

Briefly, a Morton’s Neuroma isn’t a neuroma at all but inflammation of a nerve that runs between the toes. (More details here) The cause is not known but high heeled or narrow shoes are thought to play a part – odd in my case, given that I’ve never worn a pair of heels in my life and tend to wear quite wide flat shoes because I have sticking out little toes! Continue reading