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Concept: Neuroma


This paper emphasizes the anatomical substrate of several foot conditions that are seldom discussed in this context. These include the insertional and non-insertional Achilles tendinopathies, plantar fasciopathy, inferior and posterior heel spurs, foot compartment syndromes, intermetatarsal bursitis and Morton’s neuroma. It is a rather superficial anatomical review of an organ that remains largely neglected by rheumatologists. It is our hope that the cases discussed and the cross examination by instructors and participants will stimulate study of the foot and the attention it deserves.

Concepts: Medicine, Biology, Foot, Anatomy, Human anatomy, Anatomical terms of location, Morton's neuroma, Neuroma


To identify the benefits of ultrasound-guided radiofrequency ablation of Morton’s neuroma as an alternative to surgical excision.

Concepts: Medicine, Surgery, Excision, Radiofrequency ablation, Morton's neuroma, Neuroma, Morton's Restaurant Group


Abstract The exact mechanism of neuroma-associated pain is not yet fully understood, thus contributing to the substantial challenge faced in managing patients with painful neuromas. We aimed to observe the expression of alpha smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) in the painful traumatic neuroma and to investigate its possible roles in the cause of neuroma-associated pain. Its expression is considered to be a useful phenotypic marker for myofibroblast, and may contribute to its increased contractile activity. We collected peripheral neuroma specimens prospectively and subsequently divided them into two groups: painful (n=21) and non-painful (n=27) based on blinded preoperative visual analogue scale (VAS) pain scores. We also harvested normal nerve specimens from the discarded limbs as a control group (n=8). We performed immunohistological studies to observe the expression of α-SMA in each group, and calculated the expression level by a high-resolution pathological image analysis system. There was no positive staining of α-SMA observed in the control group, slight positive staining in the non-painful group, and obviously positive staining in the painful group. Pearson correlation analysis demonstrated that VAS scores were significantly associated with the expression intensity of α-SMA (R=0.831; p<0.001). Linear regression analysis indicated that the expression intensity of α-SMA was positively related to the scale of VAS (R(2)=0.691, p<0.001). These findings suggest that: 1) expression of α-SMA may play certain roles in painful traumatic neuroma, either as a direct cause of neuroma-associated pain or as an indirect marker of local mechanical stimuli, and 2) the presence of α-SMA in the painful group may provide rationale for transpositional procedures in the management of traumatic neuroma. The persistent existence of α-SMA in the painful group and the correlation with VAS scores may provide insight into the development of new therapeutic strategies.

Concepts: Scientific method, Regression analysis, Linear regression, Neurology, Pain, Smooth muscle, Peripheral neuropathy, Neuroma


The aim of the present study was to assess the diagnostic accuracy of 7 clinical tests for Morton’s neuroma (MN) compared with ultrasonography (US). Forty patients (54 feet) were diagnosed with MN using predetermined clinical criteria. These patients were subsequently referred for US, which was performed by a single, experienced musculoskeletal radiologist. The clinical test results were compared against the US findings. MN was confirmed on US at the site of clinical diagnosis in 53 feet (98%). The operational characteristics of the clinical tests performed were as follows: thumb index finger squeeze (96% sensitivity, 96% accuracy), Mulder’s click (61% sensitivity, 62% accuracy), foot squeeze (41% sensitivity, 41% accuracy), plantar percussion (37% sensitivity, 36% accuracy), dorsal percussion (33% sensitivity, 26% accuracy), and light touch and pin prick (26% sensitivity, 25% accuracy). No correlation was found between the size of MN on US and the positive clinical tests, except for Mulder’s click. The size of MN was significantly larger in patients with a positive Mulder’s click (10.9 versus 8.5 mm, p = .016). The clinical assessment was comparable to US in diagnosing MN. The thumb index finger squeeze test was the most sensitive screening test for the clinical diagnosis of MN.

Concepts: Medical terms, Diagnosis, Type I and type II errors, Assessment, Finger, Index finger, Morton's neuroma, Neuroma


Tail docking of neonatal pigs is widely used as a measure to reduce the incidence of tail biting, a complex management problem in the pig industry. Concerns exist over the long-term consequences of tail docking for possible tail stump pain sensitivity due to the development of traumatic neuromas in injured peripheral nerves. Tail stumps were obtained post mortem from four female pigs at each of 1, 4, 8 and 16 weeks following tail amputation (approximately two-thirds removed) by a gas-heated docking iron on post natal day 3. Tissues were processed routinely for histopathological examination. Non-neural inflammatory and reparative epidermal and dermal changes associated with tissue thickening and healing were observed 1 to 4 months after docking. Mild neutrophilic inflammation was present in some cases, although this and other degenerative and non-neural reparative changes are not likely to have caused pain. Traumatic neuroma and neuromatous tissue development was not observed 1 week after tail docking, but was evident 1 month after tail docking. Over time there was marked nerve sheath and axonal proliferation leading to the formation of neuromata, which were either localized and circumscribed or comprised of multiple axons dispersed within granulation tissue. Four months after tail resection, neuroma formation was still incomplete, with possible implications for sensitivity of the tail stump.

Concepts: Nervous system, Anatomical pathology, Action potential, Axon, Nerve, Pig, Neuroma, Traumatic neuroma


Morton’s neuroma is a common foot condition affecting health-related quality of life. Though its management frequently includes steroid injections, evidence of cost-effectiveness is sparse. So, we aimed to evaluate whether steroid injection is cost-effective in treating Morton’s neuroma compared with anaesthetic injection alone.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Life, Randomized controlled trial, Cost-effectiveness analysis, Safe injection site, Morton's neuroma, Neuroma


Morton’s neuroma is one of the most common causes of metatarsalgia. Despite this, it remains little studied, as the diagnosis is clinical with no reliable instrumental diagnostics, and each study may deal with incorrect diagnosis or inappropriate treatment, which are difficult to verify. The present literature review crosses all key points, from diagnosis to surgical and nonoperative treatment, and recurrences. Nonoperative treatment is successful in a limited percentage of cases, but it can be adequate in those who want to delay or avoid surgery. Dorsal or plantar approaches were described for surgical treatment, both with strengths and weaknesses that will be scanned. Failures are related to wrong diagnosis, wrong interspace, failure to divide the transverse metatarsal ligament, too distal resection of common plantar digital nerve, an association of tarsal tunnel syndrome and incomplete removal. A deep knowledge of the causes and presentation of failures is needed to surgically face recurrences.

Concepts: Surgery, Foot, Neurosurgery, Failure, Morton's neuroma, Tarsal tunnel syndrome, Neuroma, Foot diseases


A consensus on the optimal treatment of painful neuromas does not exist. Our objective was to identify available data and to examine the role of surgical technique on outcomes following surgical management of painful neuromas. In accordance with the PRISMA guidelines, we performed a comprehensive literature search to identify studies measuring the efficacy of the surgical treatment of painful neuromas in the extremities (excluding Morton’s neuroma and compression neuropathies). Surgical treatments were categorized as excision-only, excision and transposition, excision and cap, excision and repair, or neurolysis and coverage. Data on the proportion of patients with a meaningful reduction in pain were pooled and a random effects meta-analysis was performed. The effects of confounding, study quality, and publication bias were examined with stratified, meta-regression, and bias analysis. 54 articles met inclusion criteria, many with multiple treatment groups. Outcomes reporting varied significantly and few studies controlled for confounding. Overall, surgical treatment of neuroma pain was effective in 77% of patients [95% confidence interval: 73-81]. No significant differences were seen between surgical techniques. Among studies with mean pain duration greater than 24 months, or median number of operations greater than 2 prior to definitive neuroma pain surgery, excision and transposition, or neurolysis and coverage were significantly more likely than other operative techniques to result in a meaningful reduction in pain (p<0.05). Standardization in the reporting of surgical techniques, outcomes, and confounding factors is needed in future studies to enable providers to make comparisons across disparate techniques in the surgical treatment of neuroma pain.

Concepts: Surgery, Median, Neurology, Pain, Dentistry, Peripheral neuropathy, Morton's neuroma, Neuroma


Understanding the risk factors that predict the prognosis of Morton’s neuroma after corticosteroid injection would help clinicians determine the appropriate treatment protocol. However, the cut-off values for the risk factors are unknown. The aim of this study was to identify the risk factors and cut-off values that predict failure of corticosteroid injection in treatment of Morton’s neuroma.

Concepts: Value, Morality, Cutoff, Morton's neuroma, Neuroma


A 53-year-old Afghan man presented with a 12-month history of left proptosis, diplopia and facial swelling 20 years after a bomb blast injury. Magnetic resonance and computed tomography imaging revealed a well-circumscribed lesion centred within the left inferior orbit/superior maxillary sinus along with left orbital fracture. Histopathology and immunostaining of the debulked lesion were consistent with traumatic neuroma of the infraorbital nerve. Infraorbital neuromas have developed following orbital decompression surgeries but have not been reported previously following non-surgical trauma.

Concepts: Medical imaging, Injuries, Maxillary sinus, Infraorbital artery, Infraorbital nerve, Neuroma, Traumatic neuroma, Tsar Bomba