Running: Morton’s Neuroma

By Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC

Las Vegas Informer

Apply training strategies to avert and control a painful condition on the ball of the foot named Morton’s Neuroma. This performance limiting ailment is preventable and manageable with sound training practices and proper treatment.

Anatomy: The metatarsal bones are located in the forefoot. Five metatarsal bones exist in each foot, connecting the toes to the midfoot. The metatarsal bones are numbered one through five from big toe to small toe. The heads of the metatarsal bones are at the ends of the bones closest to the toes. The transverse arch of the foot runs from the head of the first metatarsal to the head of the fifth metatarsal. Nerves which transmit signals to and from the toes are positioned between the metatarsal bones.

Description: Morton’s Neuroma occurs when the forefoot is compressed. The metatarsal bones are squeezed together and place pressure on the nerves between them. Nerve compression is painful and can be debilitating if not treated correctly.

Symptoms: The pain of Morton’s Neuroma is located on the bottom of the foot between the third and fourth metatarsal bones. The pain is described as dull, achy, tender and sharp. The patient describes the pain as feeling like a pebble or folded sock is irritating the foot. Numbness and tingling may be present in the second, third and fourth toes.

The symptoms have an insidious onset and are worst at the push-off phase of walking and running. Symptoms are increased by squeezing the forefoot together, tight shoes, direct pressure and activity. The pain is decreased by rest. The pain of Morton’s Neuroma usually causes an altered gait and compensated running form, which are forerunners for a plethora of injuries.       

Intrinsic Sources: Functional precursors of Morton’s Neuroma are collapsed transverse arch, weak foot muscles, especially in the forefoot and overpronation.

Extrinsic Sources: The two main extrinsic sources of Morton’s Neuroma are overtraining and wearing shoes which are too tight in the forefoot. The repetitive pounding of running combined with insufficient rest between runs, places too large of a workload on the feet. Shoes which are too tight and squeeze the forefoot together create an abnormal amount of pressure on the nerves in between the metatarsal bones.

Prevention: Prevent the pain and symptoms of Morton’s Neuroma with intelligent training strategies which include adequate rest between runs, cross training, foot strengthening exercises, increasing intensity in gradual increments and wearing proper fitting shoes. Follow these suggestions to lower the risk of acquiring Morton’s Neuroma by removing intrinsic and extrinsic factors.

Work with a running coach and professional running shoe salesperson for expert advice and optimal results.

Self- Management: Begin self-treatment and professional care immediately if symptoms should arise. Do not attempt to train through nerve pain.

Apply ice to the painful area. Wear loose fitting and well padded shoes. Perform self massage around the area of pain but not directly over the compressed nerve.

Chiropractic Care: Nerve compression injuries are serious conditions which require professional chiropractic care for the best possible outcome. Chiropractic treatment re-establishes proper skeletal motion and optimizes nerve flow. Chiropractic adjustments to the lower spine restore proper nerve signals from the spine to the feet. Chiropractic adjustments to the lower extremity, especially to the feet, restore proper skeletal motion, improve biomechanics and lessen the compression on the nerves between the metatarsal bones.

Conclusion: Train with intelligence to stay injury free and accomplish your running goals. Formulate and follow a training program and healthy lifestyle which includes adequate recovery time between runs, cross training, gradual increases in workout intensity, Chiropractic care, sound nutrition strategies and a positive attitude to prevent overtraining injuries such as Morton’s Neuroma.

Dr_Donald_A_Ozello_thumb_medium150_Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC

Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC is the owner and treating doctor at Championship Chiropractic. 8871 W. Flamingo Rd, Suite #202, Las Vegas, NV 89147.  His web address is He can be contacted at (702) 286-9040 and

Dr. Donald A. Ozello’s mission is to educate and inspire others to live healthier, fitter, more functional lives.

Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC is the author of the book “Running: Maximize Performance & Minimize Injuries: A Chiropractor’s Guide to Minimizing the Potential for Running Injuries.” He writes a weekly health, fitness and nutrition column for The Las Vegas Informer. He is published in OnFitness and He has educational health, fitness and nutritional videos on Informer TV, and YouTube.

Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC proudly handles Standard Process Supplements and Foot Levelers Orthotics.

Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC is an award-winning public speaker. He has spoken to numerous groups on the importance of health, fitness, exercise, ergonomics, nutrition and injury prevention.

Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC is a fitness enthusiast. Functional kettlebell training, running and bike riding are his favorite types of exercise.

Before pursuing his career in Chiropractic, Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC served in the United States Navy aboard the USS Bremerton, SSN 698.

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