I have suffered with Morton’s Neuroma, a thickening of the tissue around the nerve between the bases of the toes, for a couple of years. The condition is very painful because the nerve becomes inflamed and causes numbness, stinging, burning and shooting pains and soreness around the ball of the foot and this pain often transfers to the other foot.
Last month I decided to have surgery to remove the neuroma as it was seriously affecting my ability to exercise and was limiting the types of shoes I could wear. At this point I have to say that surgery is not the answer for everyone – healing can take 6-12 months to complete, with the first 12 weeks being the most difficult to manage from a mobility point of view. However, for those women who have decided to have the procedure, or are considering it, here are a few personal tips on how to make the healing process as comfortable as possible. These are my own thoughts, and you must always take the advice given to you by your orthopaedic surgeon.
– 4 weeks before surgery think about taking supplements to boost your immunity such as 1000 mg turmeric with pepper (capsules) or turmeric drink shots twice a day
– Arnica tablets are helpful to reduce bruising and discomfort together with Echinacea, which will help protect against infection pre and during and from day after operation. However your surgeon may advise you to stop taking these 1 week prior to your operation, so please be guided by them.
This is very important as it will help reduce the inflammation, so it’s not a bad idea to start getting into the habit of drinking at least 2 litres of water a day if you don’t already do so and then continue with this during your recuperation.
Clear your diary
Be sure to clear your social calendar for at least 2 weeks so that you have time to rest properly. I made the mistake of having my surgery in the first week of December, thinking I’d be back on my feet for Christmas. Big mistake!
Choose the time of year carefully
Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but I would recommend having the surgery in the warmer months of the year. In the warmer months you can sit in the garden with your foot elevated and enjoy some fresh air whilst recuperating. Fresh air will definitely help your mood and stop you feeling sorry for yourself because your stuck indoors all day like I was!
Plan your post-operation footwear
Recouping in the warmer months also means that once you start venturing out, you will have more choice in your footwear. My orthopaedic surgeon recommended wearing trainers loosely tied and although this is fine, they don’t provide me with adequate cushioning for the ball of my foot where the soreness is. In the summer you can wear good quality open toed sandal, those that have a moulded foot bed. They come in a variety of wonderful colours including metallic, so you can cheer yourself up with a bit of sparkle if you so desire!
Get some help around the house
Make sure you have someone to look after you during the first two weeks, someone who is willing to help with domestic chores, such as food shopping cooking, cleaning, washing etc. For those with dogs, make sure you have some day care in place.
Manage expectations on the your healing time
It took 4 weeks for me to start feeling able to stand on my feet for any length of time and even then it was only for 10 minutes at a time. Try not to over do it when your foot starts to feel less swollen, it could be 6-12 weeks before you’re walking properly again.
Items to consider purchasing
Once home, you will need to rest as much as possible for the first 5 days with my foot elevated as much as possible, and take it easy for a further 10 days. He also said that I would need to keep my wound completely dry for 2 weeks after surgery.
Waterproof your foot when showering
Buy a waterproof cast and bandage foot protector– it fits very tightly to the leg and keeps it dry.
Manage soreness and inflammation
- Cold therapy socks – these are socks containing 3 ice packs at the ball, heel and ankle. Stick these in the freezer and wear them when you have your foot elevated
– Small gel ice packs – great for sticking under your foot in a flip flop for when you’re away from home in weeks 3-4
- Arnica gel – apply this to the ball of the foot to help the healing process
- Once your wound is healed and your stitches have been removed (around about week 3) you can create a soothing footbath with a combination of raw organic apple cider vinegar and Epsom salts. There are lots of recipes on line to guide you on this.
Getting about the house
- Non slip skid socks are really useful around the house
Walking inside and outside
- Invest in a pair of sandals with a moulded foot bed, the type with two individually adjustable straps are ideal as you can adjust them to suit the amount of swelling on your foot. The cushioning provides wonderful relief for the soreness on the ball of my foot.
Massaging your scar
– I massaged a little Vitamin E oil into my scar every morning. The area maybe very sore at first, so just be guided by how it feels.
As a common cause of Morton’s Neuroma in women can be a result of wearing high heels or tight fitting shoes I thought I’d end on a tip on future footwear selection. Evidence shows that shoes with pointed toes and/or high heels can often lead to a neuroma. Constricting shoes can pinch the nerve between the toes, causing discomfort and extreme pain. As I really don’t want to develop a neuroma in my other foot, I’m keen to get some good advice on correct footwear going forward and will be booking an appointment with a specialist shoe store when I’m back to normal walking strength. I will keep you posted!