Morton's neuroma: review of anatomy, pathomechanism, and imaging

Clin Radiol. 2021 Mar;76(3):235.e15-235.e23. doi: 10.1016/j.crad.2020.10.006. Epub 2020 Nov 7.


Morton's neuroma is a commonly encountered cause of forefoot pain, which may limit weight-bearing activities and footwear choices. Although the aetiology and pathomechanism of this condition is controversial, the histological endpoint is well established as benign perineural fibrosis of a common plantar digital nerve, typically within the third intermetatarsal space. The diagnosis of Morton's neuroma is mainly based on characteristic symptoms and clinical findings, but may be confirmed by ultrasonography. Although ultrasound is a highly accurate diagnostic tool for Morton's neuroma, it is subject to interoperator variability due to differences in technique and level of experience. In this paper, the authors review the anatomy of the common plantar digital nerves and surrounding structures in the forefoot, which are deemed relevant to the understanding of Morton's neuroma, especially from a sonographic point of view. Several theories of the pathomechanism of Morton's neuroma are briefly discussed. The main purpose of this article is to illustrate the ultrasound techniques for evaluating Morton's neuroma and performing ultrasound-guided corticosteroid injections.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diagnostic Imaging / methods*
  • Humans
  • Metatarsal Bones / diagnostic imaging
  • Metatarsal Bones / innervation
  • Morton Neuroma / diagnostic imaging*
  • Morton Neuroma / pathology*