Neuroma’s of the feet, the NY Times weighs in on a frustrating common problem.

Neuroma’s of the feet, the NY Times weighs in on a frustrating common problem.

What is a neuroma of the feet.  A Morton’s neuroma is the most common type typically thought to be due to a short first toe, and how it forces weight to bear on to the second and third toes causing impingement and pain from the nerves affecting the toe. A detailed description from Wikipedia can be found by clicking on this link.

While it is true that massaging the front of the bottom of the foot between the toes can help relieve the pain and discomfort, it is also true that people who have short first toes also are likely to overpronate which means their foot turns out further aggravating the impingement.

It is also true that much of what exacerbates the problems is above the foot.  When a person is constantly turning the foot out, the calf, the intrinsic muscles of the foot will tighten and become more fibrous, reducing the shock absorbing ability of the leg and calf and it will also cause problems in the pelvis and the hips as well.  This increases the tension over time and results in more impact on the forefoot when you take a step.

The reason I mention this is that when we walk, we are using the entire body to take a step.  When we compensate for gait problems, we will increase our impact on the ground which over time will result in symptoms such as a neuroma.

One of the ways you can help reduce this impact is by using a foot orthotic which will improve the way the foot works when you step forward.  In advanced cases of neuroma, a bump out can be applied to the orthotic to help lift the anterior arch of the foot where the impingement is taking place, reducing pain further.  It is been our experience that to resolve a neuroma, you must look at the foot, the gait, the soft tissues, the pelvis and so on and address the problem holistically for the best long term outcome.

The NY Times recently discussed this in their Well section.  The doctor who was interviewed offered some sound advice, however, it is just limited to the foot.  The problem is that foot problems often are related to how we walk and use our bodies to do so.  The foot is merely the site of impact.  Check out their article here.