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Treating Morton's Neuroma - The Jane Russell Effect

Treating Morton's Neuroma

What does Jane Russell have to do with a Morton's neuroma?  Actually a lot.  Jane Russell was the spokesperson for Playtex and represented the Cross Your Heart line of bras.  The Playtex motto for the Cross Your Heart Bra was that 'it lifts and separates'. Remember?  And what was that about neuromas?

Morton's neuroma is a common forefoot condition, so common in fact that in many cases, if a patient has forefoot pain, Morton's felt metatarsal padneuroma is cited as a differential diagnosis.  Although there's a host of different conditions that may cause forefoot pain, Morton's neuroma often tops the list of problems.  A review of the literature finds that there is very little consensus regarding why Morton's neuroma develops.  And even Morton himself was confused.  Morton, a Viennese physician from the late 19th century coined the term neuroma.  The suffix 'oma' refers to a primary tumor.  But a Morton's neuroma isn't a tumor, it is actually a nerve entrapment much like carpal tunnel.  Although there is no consensus on the etiology of Morton's neuroma, most podiatrists will agree that Morton's neuroma is due to an impingement of the interdigital nerve by the adjacent metatarsal bones.  Hypermobility of the forefoot results in increased movement of the metatarsal bones and in subsequent impingement.

So what about Jane Russell?  If you're old enough, you'll remember the Playtex Cross Your Heart slogan; it lifts and separates.  And that's what a simple metatarsal pad does for Morton's neuroma.  Use of a metatarsal pad in the treatment of Morton's neuroma is used to lift and separate the metatarsal bones, stabilizing the bones, and decreasing the tendency towards compression of the intermetatarsal nerve.

The Jane Russell effect?  Call it what you may, but the use of a metatarsal pad in the treatment of Morton's neuroma is one of the most successful methods of treatment.  Felt, foam, PPT or gel met pads are the first line to lift and separate those metatarsals.


Dr. Jeffrey Oster

Jeffrey A. Oster, DPM
Medical Advisor

Updated 12/27/19

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