Histological comparison of the third interdigital nerve in patients with Morton's metatarsalgia and control patients

Aust N Z J Surg. 1994 Jun;64(6):421-4. doi: 10.1111/j.1445-2197.1994.tb02243.x.


This study compares the histology of the plantar-digital nerve supplying the third web space in asymptomatic patients with those who have clinically diagnosed Morton's metatarsalgia. Despite several studies concentrating on the histological changes in the interdigital nerve, the relevance of these changes is a matter of contention while the exact pathological process responsible for the symptoms has not been determined. The histological findings in control patients were identical to Morton's patients with the exception of demyelination, which was more common in the Morton's group. This suggests that the characteristic nodule and fibrotic changes seen in the interdigital nerves of patients with Morton's neuroma cannot account for the symptoms and that the changes seen in the neurovascular bundle are degenerative in origin and are found in asymptomatic patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Demyelinating Diseases / pathology*
  • Demyelinating Diseases / physiopathology
  • Demyelinating Diseases / surgery
  • Female
  • Fibrosis
  • Foot Diseases / pathology*
  • Foot Diseases / physiopathology
  • Foot Diseases / surgery
  • Humans
  • Hyalin
  • Male
  • Metatarsophalangeal Joint / blood supply
  • Metatarsophalangeal Joint / innervation*
  • Metatarsophalangeal Joint / pathology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuroma / pathology*
  • Neuroma / physiopathology
  • Neuroma / surgery
  • Severity of Illness Index