Mortons Neuroma

A Mortons Neuroma is a painful condition that leave some people absolutely unable to weight-bear on the affected foot. The condition was first diagnosed by Morton Root (a figurehead in the world of Podiatry) but is not a true neuroma. A Mortons neuroma is a thickened nerve that lies in between the third and fourth metatarsal heads of the foot.

This condition is characterised by;

  • Pain in the affected area when walking
  • Sharp-shooting pains that shoot down the third and fourth toes
  • Worsened with tight footwear


Historically a Mortons neuroma’s cause was attributed solely to improper footwear; where tight shoes pinched the bones of the foot together and irritated the nerve. This aligned with the demographic of people that mostly suffered from the condition – women and high heels. But it is a little bit more complicated than that.

We now know that excess movement or hypermobility of the foot is the true cause of the irritation to these nerves. Hypermobility can be developed over time as a compensatory mechanism to improper biomechanics or flexibility, but typically is a genetic trait – if your parents feet are flexible then chances yours are going to be as well!

This excess flexibility causes the foot to lose its arches (the support mechanisms) and flatten out and have a wider profile – which when are shoved into footwear get squished together and rub on the nerve. The tighter the shoe the worse the irritation!


Treatment options for Mortons neuroma were for a long time a combination of surgery , cortisone injections and “don’t wear these shoes anymore”. This isn’t necessary for most cases in the modern age – conservative orthotic therapy and soft tissue (muscle) rehabilitation is very successful in managing neuroma symptoms. With these two therapies; we look to realign the bones of the foot, and give the muscles a better ability to do their job – which will counter any potential biomechanical issues and take that pressure off the irritated nerves.

What’s also important to consider is Footwear. Although it is not primarily a footwear issue, wearing supportive and spacious shoes can have a dramatic outcome on the severity of the condition.

If you feel like your suffering from the symptoms of a Mortons neuroma – come on in and let one of our highly skilled podiatrists take a look and start getting you better!

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