When runners talk foot pain, how common is Morton's neuroma? Morton's neuroma is the single most common reason for forefoot pain in runners and is found more often than most other forefoot problems combined. Running with Morton’s neuroma rarely causes permanent damage to the nerve, but the symptoms of Morton’s neuroma can last for far longer than your run, sometimes lasting for days.
Symptoms of Morton's Neuroma
The most common symptoms of Morton's neuroma include a dull ache of the forefoot that many runners describes as if they’re running on a bunched up sock. Additional symptoms include:
- Pain that begins at the onset of running
- Dull ache of the forefoot between the 3rd and 4th toes
- Ball-of-foot pain that is relieved by rest
- Electrical shock sensations in the ball-of-the-foot
What can a runner do to treat Morton's neuroma before calling their doctor for help?
Morton’s neuroma is caused by an impingement of the nerve between the 3rd and 4th metatarsal bones. In a flexible, unstable foot, excessive motion of the forefoot is often described as the single most influential factor that causes Morton’s neuroma. Stabilizing the forefoot to decrease impingement of the nerve can be accomplished with the three steps:
1. Check the fit of you shoe – adequate width of the shoe is essential to prevent side-to-side compression of the forefoot. Try this simple trick; while barefoot, stand next to your shoe and compare the width of your forefoot to the width of the shoe. Is the shoe more narrow? You may need to consider a wider shoe
2. Add a met pad – metatarsal pads come in a variety of thicknesses, shapes and sizes. The choice of what pad to use is really a personal preference. Metatarsal pads lift and separate the metatarsal bones, relieving pressure on the nerve that causes Morton’s neuroma.
3. Stiffen the shank of the shoe – a soft shank shoe will bend through the middle of the arch. A shoe with a stiff mid-body or shank, will help to stabilize and off-load the forefoot relieving pressure on the ball-of-the-foot. Shoes with a soft mid-body (arch) can be stiffened with a Carbon Fiber Spring Plate.
Join the conversation about Morton’s neuroma and learn more about treatment options. Scroll down for products used to treat Morton's neuroma.
Jeffrey A. Oster, DPM