Morton’s Neuroma Running – Everything You Should Know

Long-time runners who are recently diagnosed with Morton’s neuroma often worry that they will never run as before. It is true that weight-bearing aggravates this condition and can trigger episode of sharp or burning pain in the ball of the foot and toes.


However, with proper management, it is possible to reduce the pain and get back to running in short time. The prognosis is even better if Morton’s neuroma is diagnosed early in the development process.

You want to find out how Morton’s neuroma running is possible? Join me as I discuss factors that make this condition and running worse and what are the best ways to eliminate them.

What are the contributing factors of Morton’s neuroma?

In order to manage the Morton’s neuroma pain and prevent further thickening of the nerve, you should know more about the causes of Morton’s neuroma.

Unfortunately, the exact cause of Morton’s neuroma is still not known. Recent theories suggest that it is an overuse injury caused by the repetitive stress and irritation of the nerve. Over time, the stress and irritation cause thickening of the tissues that surround the nerve.

Although the exact cause of this condition is still not known, there are several factors that undoubtedly contribute to the development of Morton’s neuroma and its symptoms. Moreover, most of the contributing factors are important for Morton’s neuroma running.

Tight, unfitting shoes and high heels

This is the most common and most important contributing factor of Morton’s neuroma. The role of this factor in the development of Morton’s neuroma was discovered when it is noticed that women who often wear high heels make majority of patients with Morton’s neuroma. Tight shoes with narrow toe boxes are also important factor. These shoes put more pressure on the nerve, especially during weight-bearing activities.

Foot deformities

Certain foot deformities like high arches or flat feet can also raise the risk for Morton’ neuroma. Other foot abnormalities like hammertoes and bunions can also contribute to nerve thickening in Morton’s neuroma.

Certain injuries

Certain foot injuries like dislocations and fractures can narrow the tunnel where the nerve goes and put more stress and irritation on the nerve.

Certain sports

Weight-bearing physical activities and sports that involve repetitive action like walking, running, jogging can contribute to the development of Morton’s neuroma.

Sports that feature tight shoes like skiing or rock climbing can also be a contributing factor to this condition.

How to manage Morton’s neuroma and start running again?

The first thing you should do as soon as you feel the pain is to stop running. It is important to start your healing process as soon as possible. You don’t want to aggravate this condition more than it already is. You should start your treatment with simple conservative methods like rest, massage, ice and anti-inflammatory medications.

However, these methods will only relief symptoms for a short period of time. If you don’t correct other contributing factors, you’ll feel the pain as soon as you start running again. Therefore, it is important to identify your causative factors and eliminate them. With every contributing factor corrected, Morton’s neuroma running will be easier and less painful.

Change of footwear

The first thing that anyone with Morton’s neuroma should do is to get a proper fitting shoes. This applies to both running and regular shoes. Get shoes that have wider toe box. They will give your toes more space to move and reduce the irritation of the nerve.

I’ve already compiled a list of best shoes for Morton’s neuroma currently available on the market.

For those who have foot deformity along with Morton’s neuroma, finding a proper footwear can be even harder. People with high arches should look for shoes that have proper cushioning, while those with flat feet should choose supportive shoes that give stability and control motion.


Orthoses like shoe inserts and pads are also important for managing Morton’s neuroma symptoms.

Metatarsal or neuroma pads

The most popular orthotics for Morton’s neuroma are the so called neuroma or metatarsal pads. It is a teardrop shaped pad that goes underneath the forefoot, more precisely under the ball of the foot.

The point of this pad is to reduce the pressure on the metatarsal heads at the ball of the foot. This is the place where nerve becomes thickened and irritated. The pad shifts stress from the head to the neck and shaft of metatarsal bones and relieves pressure on the nerve.

Because of the shape, neuroma pad also lifts and separates the toes, increasing the space between the toes and metatarsal heads. This way neuroma isn’t pinched and irritated by the corresponding metatarsals.

Shoe inserts

Shoe inserts for Morton’s neuroma have similar functions as neuroma pads. Moreover, they can also help with additional foot deformities that make this condition worse like flat feet and high arches.

Although there are over-the-counter pads and inserts available on the market, I recommend getting a custom made orthotic. Custom orthotic is specifically designed for your foot and medical condition.


Before you start running again, it is important to do exercises that will stretch and strengthen certain groups of muscles and joints. The aim of these exercises is to shift the stress from the nerve to the other areas of the foot and reduce pressure and irritation. Some of the best simple exercises for this condition that can be helpful are:

1. Plantar Fascia Stretch

  • Hold the toes of the painful foot
  • Stretch the toes toward your shin bone.
  • The stretch should be a mild to moderate.
  • Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times.

2. Foot Intrinsic Muscle Strengthening

  • · Put a towel flat on the floorwork best.
  • Try to grab the towel by using your toes.
  • Do 3 sets of 10 repetitions

3. Calf Gastrocnemius Stretch Exercise

  • Stand and lean against a wall
  • Place one foot back and make sure for it to be straight the entire exercise
  • Bend the front knee until a gentle stretch is felt on the back of the lower leg.
  • Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times per side.

4. Calf Soleus Stretch Exercise

  • Stand and lean against a wall
  • Place one foot back and bend it. Your back knee should be bent during the entire exercise.
  • Bend the front knee until a gentle stretch is felt on the back of the lower leg.
  • Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times per side.

5. Balancing on one foot

Morton’s neuroma taping

Morton’s neuroma pain can happen suddenly, even without more intensive physical activity. This characteristic of Morton’s neuroma is unpleasant for athletes, especially when the pain happens right before some important competition.

Instant pain relief can be achieved with simple taping technique. The aim of these technique is to reduce the pressure on the nerve and reduce the pain.

  • For this taping you need rigid zinc-oxide tape and a piece of padding.
  • Cut a teardrop shape pad from foam padding.
  • Put the pad right under the painful area and secure it with rigid tape.
  • Do not tape the area too tight. You need to allow foot expansion while walking and running.

Socks with toe spreaders

Wearing socks that spread toes can be helpful, especially if you use them during the night. They will spread the toes and reduce pressure on the nerve, giving it time to heal.

You can also use cotton balls between your toes instead of socks. They have the same effect as toe spreading socks.


Morton’s neuroma is a painful condition that scares a lot of runners. However, with early diagnosis and right management, you can slow down the further progression and relief the pain.

In order to heal properly, it is really important to be patient and take your time off. Morton’s neuroma is a chronic, progressive condition that didn’t develop overnight. It is a result of longer repetitive stress on the nerve. That is why you should gradually return to running and other physical activities.

Start your gradual return to activities only when you are able to walk without pain and have good flexibility and mobility. Sudden return to running will just make things even worse. The pain will be more often, intense and the only option left is Morton’s neuroma surgery. The problem with surgical treatments in athletes is that the recovery time is longer and cutting the tendon during procedure will definitely lower your flexibility and mobility.

I hope that with this text you’ve learned that it is possible to do Morton’s neuroma running. Just follow my few simple tips and I’m sure you’re going to feel better after a couple of weeks.


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