So it's been 10 days since the surgery and my foot is slowly healing. I went to work this week, with the help of my wonderful husband who is driving me around. It's nice to have a driver...and a cook. You don't realize how much you need to get around on your feet until you can't. Thank goodness I have my knitting because it's been keeping me sane while I camp out on the couch in the evenings. At work I sit with my leg up on the desk. Not the most ergonomic of positions!
I thought I'd share some of my experiences with this recovery in case anyone else does a search on Morton's neuroma and finds my blog. I did lots of searching on line before my surgery and found plenty of people experiencing terrible recovery but I suspect that's the case because people with problems will tend to voice them and not the other way around. My podiatrist has done lots and lots of these surgeries and after talking to him I felt confident to proceed...despite what I'd read on the internet. Yesterday I discovered a coworker had this surgery done on both feet about 20 years ago and she recovered 100%, has no residual pain or numbness and can play tennis with no problems. That made my day!
So a little back story to some questions people might have. How did I get this? How did I know I had it? What did it feel like?
How did I get this? I don't know exactly but it may partly be due to my shoes and perhaps just the way my foot is. Morton's neuroma is a nerve growth that typically occurs between the 3rd and 4th toes and can be caused by wearing narrow shoes, having flat feet or over pronation of the feet. I was never a big shoe person. I didn't cram my feet into uncomfortable or too high shoes for fashion's sake, but I also didn't buy very good shoes. It wasn't until a few years ago that I started to spend more money on good, comfortable shoes. I think I first noticed this pain when I was ice skating, about 6 or 7 years ago. After about an hour on the ice the ball of my foot became sore and I thought it was just from being in hard skates. I also remember having that same pain while walking (and walking and walking) in Rome. I was wearing some fairly well-made shoes (Reiker) but the insoles seemed a little hard in the toe area and I attributed the pain to that...and to all the walking. A few years ago I had more pain in my feet walking around New York City and at this point I decided that maybe my shoes were too narrow. I figured age and the extra weight I'm carrying had caused my feet to spread a bit and the regular medium size was just a bit too tight. Since then I've been buying shoes in wide widths or with roomy toe boxes. But I still had problems. Last spring I was wearing my Reiker shoes, which I don't wear all that often, and the pain in the ball of my foot came back. I bought some insoles and that helped but the pain seemed to stick around even in other shoes.
What did it feel like? Originally it just felt sore on the ball of my foot. Sometimes I could feel a sort of twang that was definitely a nerve - a lot like when you hit your funny bone. Interestingly I didn't really have numb toes; however, the little toe on my other foot does get numb and I remember it getting numb even way back in high school when I wore a particular pair of boots. Turn out I do have a smaller neuroma in that foot.
How did I know I had Morton's neuroma? The internet. I originally thought maybe the cushion in the balls of my feet was wearing out, but when I searched on line I found that my symptoms matched up with Morton's neuroma. I made an appointment with a podiatrist and he confirmed the diagnosis (without letting him know I consulted Dr. Google - well actually Dr. Bing). He got me custom orthotics to get my feet stabilized and we hoped that the neuroma would shrink. But it didn't.
So I had surgery. I could have had injections of cortisone but that would have been temporary fix and also meant needles. In my foot. Ow. My podiatrist has a lot of experience with this condition and he says he can tell the cases that will ultimately need surgery and mine was one of them. I put off the surgery as long as I could. Normally people with Morton's neuroma feel better when barefoot but I didn't. I think it's because I have a lot of flex in my foot. When I pick up my foot after being flat on the floor, it flexes and crunches the neuroma. Well, it used to...the neuroma is not there anymore so I shouldn't have a problem anymore.
I'll continue the story of the surgery and the recovery another day.