OMG, I have found hiking nirvana
Or at least a palliative for Morton’s Neuroma. Seriously, MN is one of the creaky old things I deal with when I hike. Mine is an inflammation of the nerve between the 2d and 3rd metatarsal on my right foot. Most people get this between the 3rd and 4th, but what can I say, I’m special.
A flare up feels like I’m hiking with a pebble in my shoe and if I don’t stop and manipulate the metatarsals, I end up with a burning, shooting pain in the ball of my foot and a long limp back to the trailhead. Ouch! I knew I needed to “fix” this, but was determined to avoid anything that would keep me off the trail this summer. Been there, done that.
NO SURGERY! NO INJECTIONS!
I’ve been nursing this along for a few months now. It wasn’t too bad until the past couple of hikes, when it became very painful after about 3 miles. This was even though I had already gone to zero drop, wide toe-box shoes (Altra Lone Peak) and injinji toe socks, which are designed to allow your toes to move freely in the shoe and thus help prevent MN. However, years and years of truly sexy pointy-toed shoes had taken a toll, scrunching my 2d and 3rd metatarsals and pissing off that nerve. Yes, very sad. 🙁 And no, I am not getting rid of the Manolo’s however, I will wear them judiciously from now on.
So, I put on my Google MD hat and started searching. There is a lot of information out there but by far the most helpful for me were two sites: Dr. Christin Runkel’s video on how to place a metatarsal pad and a review of Correct Toes by the guys at Naturalfootgear.com. The short version is that you need to spread the toes apart and put a kind of block (metatarsal pad) behind ball of the foot, so the fat pad that protects the nerve stays right there…protecting the nerve. OK, works for me I am all for spreading toes and immobile fat pads (as long as they are not on my butt that is).
There are very few things that you can just do and et voila! the pain is gone. If I wear a shoe with a wide toebox (the complete opposite of the amazing Manolo’s up there), some toe sox to keep the toes apart, add a metatarsal pad taped to my foot, then my pain is just…gone…completely. I am also using Yoga Toes toe spreaders for an hour a day and plan to get some correct toes. But I cannot overstate what relief I have had from the proper use of a simple $2.50 felt metatarsal pad.
2 thoughts on “OMG, I have found hiking nirvana”
I have it in the same spot too on both feet. I have done the cortisone injections a couple times, but my podiatrist told me I am not actually hurting anything in my feet by walking and if I could handle it I could just keep walking and burn the nerve out. Damn. He also said he could do an alcohol injection and burn it out or surgery. I just kept walking and my brain learned to ignore it and my toes go numb and the pain goes away. Haha. Not too fun, but so far it works for me. I'm not a thru hiker, but a long section hiker. 2 to 3 hundred miles at a time and I walk everyday when I'm off trail as well. Good luck. I know it hurts bad.
Oh wow! It does really hurt. I am not sure I could hike through it. I'm not a through hiker either and do the same. I was just amazed at how much better the Altra Lone Pines made my feet feel and when I added the toe socks and pad it was pretty spectactular. I am sure that using the toe spreaders every night is helping too. I'm either going to start using the correct toes or at least bring them when I hike so I can start sleeping in them.
Good luck with your section hike this summer! 🙂