Ask Sock Doc: Recurring Running and Walking Injuries, Morton’s “Toe,” and More

Screen shot 2013-10-17 at 7.32.16 AMQ:I followed your advice and threw away my orthotics and started wearing zero drops. My chronic sacroiliac pain (previously treated with Cortisone) has been completely resolved and all the years of feet and leg pains are gone. But now that I need to see a podiatrist for a painful hammertoe. How do I find one who who subscribes to your philosophy? Is there some kind of association they might belong to or what question can I ask to pinpoint their philosophy? I called two offices and was told the doctor only prescribes shoe inserts when needed, but we know what that means. Thank you.

Sock Doc: Unfortunately this is the standard of health care today: orthotics, drugs, and surgery. You might check with your local running store (if they subscribe to the minimalist philosophy) and see what docs they can recommend. Other than that it’s best to ask around; but yes, finding a doctor or therapist to help you figure out the problem rather than treat the symptoms is not an easy task.


Q: My problem started when I had a fall, landed on my butt, and was admitted to the hospital. I was fortunate that they were no permanent injuries or broken bones. After several years went by, I now suddenly I feel the pain in the butt where I had landed previously, and the pain will go down to my calf, and is often intense when I am running or walking. Sock Doc, please advise what is the cause of the pain and what I can do to get rid of it.

Sock Doc: I often tell my patients that about 80% of injuries you have ever had can and will come back to haunt you. You might not have pain in the previously injured area anymore, but the injury can affect your body via compensations and all of a sudden reveal itself one day in an entirely different place. So it’s best to always have a good structurally-minded doctor or therapist check you out after any injury. This injury you’re suffering from is most likely due to some pelvis imbalance and it’s affecting the musculature all the way down your leg. Falls can cause the pelvis to torque so the muscles of one leg can become too tight on the backside (glutes/hamstrings/calves), and the other leg on the frontside (thigh/shin) area. I’d recommend you find a qualified chiropractor, physical therapist, massage therapist or other health care provider knowledgeable in this structure to help unwind you!


Q: I always considered myself flat-footed. But I ran quite happily for many years.But I gave up running maybe 20 years ago. Then I read “Born to Run.” Now I would like to get back into running. First thing I did was get a range of minimalist shoes. Now for the first time I find I have Morton’s Toe {ed.which is when your first metatarsal–not actual toe– is shorter than your second}.  Strange, it’s only painful on my right foot. I think my gait is quite symmetrical. So now the Morton’s Toe pain is much worse than any arch pain I ever had. I can barely walk in flat shoes, never mind run. Any thoughts? I have been experimenting with customized padding, but I feel I am cheating nature. Limping Paul.

Sock Dock:  Dear Limping Paul, you would not just all of a sudden develop Morton’s Toe. You’re  either born this way, or not. So it sounds like you may be suffering from Morton’s Neuroma– which is inflammation of the plantar nerve, and this results in pain.  This is most often from a weakness in the tibialis posterior muscle resulting in improper pronation of your foot. So rather than properly pronating in over to your big toe during the gait cycle, you’re jamming the second toe joint in the process and irritating the nerve. Flat shoes hurt more because there is no external support to help facilitate your movement; it’s all up to the structure of the foot/ankle and it’s not working correctly. Check for muscle-trigger points in the tibialis posterior muscle as I show in the several Sock Doc videos. Often there are points which need to be worked out behind the tibial and fibula close to the upper calf and along the inside of the tibia. You might consider a bit “more” shoe for some time to help alleviate the pain and reduce the inflammation in that plantar nerve.


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5 Responses to “Ask Sock Doc: Recurring Running and Walking Injuries, Morton’s “Toe,” and More”

  1. André Cruz says:

    I have Morton´s Toe. See my post, it ´s in portuguese:
    I use zero drop or low drop shoes to run and injinji socks.
    One of the problems in the mortons´toe is that the second toe uses to go over the first one and the head of the bone goes down, if you use injinji that doesn´t happen.
    Sorry about my english.
    See you, bye.

  2. Adolfo Neto says:


    I think I have Morton’s toe and Morton’s neuroma.

    But my Morton’s neuroma does not hurt much. Usually it is not pain. Only a nuisance. Even when I run barefoot.

    What do you think of Correct Toes

    Could it be an option for those that have Morton’s neuroma?


  3. Tara McFadden says:


    I have been suffering from the same injury since june of 2013, I attampted to run a marathon about a month after a bad fall trail running. I have always had problems with my right hip and right it band/outside of the knee area (and this actually goes for both legs when I am running long distances). I have been to see many different physio therapists and chiropractors and I have yet been able to solve the issue. I cannot run more than 5km without the pain starting up and I am now afraid to even go out running for fear I might agravate the injury. I was an avid runner and I was racing competitively before the failed marathon attempt; during which i was suffering so much on each leg that I had to stop after 16 miles. After the race I couldnt even cycle, and spinning seemed to agravate my leg as well. I am at a loss as to what to do next. I have been reading born to run but I am not sure how to proceed. I have tried all the different exceriszes the physios and chiros have given me but nothing seems to be working. I am not sure what to do and I am losing hope that I’ll ever be the runner I was.


    Tara McFadden

  4. sean omara says:

    Been in Five Fingers now 2.5 years….only shoes i ever run in or wear (make exception for wedding, funeral but otherwise my feet are bare or with FFV’s on them and up to six pairs now. HOWEVER, I got one really really bad injury in them I would invite others to comment on and be aware of. I went running in some somewhat lengthy grass about (5 inches long) and in the middle of a interval sprint my FFV toes got stuck a little in the grass causing my leg to torque leading to a slightly twisted knee when I planted in mid sprint at full speed. Well, I acquired a very bad medial meniscal injury. I thought I should advise FFV to warn owners to not sprint in grass because of this unique phenomena which can occur FFV toe shoes. I am in very bad shape and will likely need surgery (I am an ER physician and getting good care now). Anyone else aware of this type of injury mechanism in FFV?

  5. Miguel says:

    Hi Sock Doc! Sorry but do not understand English

    I have calficaciones (spurs or pump stroke) in both Achilles tendons and the doctor (orthopedic surgeon) wants me to inject steroids (corticoides), What is your opinion?

    I’ve been running barefoot and minimalist three years, but eventually I get the problem in insercción Achilles: it becomes inflamed and painful

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