Sonographically-guided alcohol injections has a high success rate and is well tolerated by patients with Morton's neuroma, a common cause of foot pain, according to a recent study conducted by researchers at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital and Kingston Hospital NHS Trust in Middlesex, United Kingdom.
Morton's neuroma is a growth of nerve tissue that occurs in a nerve in your foot, often between your third and fourth toes and usually causes a sharp, burning pain in the ball of your foot. For this study, researchers assessed the efficacy of a series of alcohol injections into the lesion.
"I felt many patients with Morton's neuroma were undergoing an operation that was unnecessary and that the neuroma could be successfully treated in a less invasive manner," said David Connell, MD, lead author of the study.
The study consisted of 101 patients with Morton's neuroma. An average of 4.1 treatments per person were administered, and follow-up images were obtained at a mean of 21.1 months after the last treatment.
According to the study, there was a technical success rate of 100%. In 94% of the patients, partial or total symptom improvement was reported, with 84% becoming totally pain free. Thirty patients underwent sonography at six months after the last injection and showed a 30% decrease in the size of the neuroma.
"Surprisingly, most patients maintain innervation to the toes despite the alcohol ablation," said Dr. Connell. "This means that they don't have the permanent numbness and loss of sensation that accompanies resection of the nerve at surgery," he said.
The full results of this study appear in the June issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology, published by the American Roentgen Ray Society.
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