Walk this way,” Steven Tyler wails in the Aerosmith song of the same name, but you might want to think twice about mimicking any of Tyler’s moves. His high-energy stage performances likely caused a foot ailment, deforming his foot.
Photos of Tyler’s foot surfaced recently, showing his second toe crossing over his big toe and the other digits slouching toward it. (Msnbc.com doesn't have rights to the photo, but you can see it here.) After several surgeries he still experiences excruciating pain, one of the reasons he became a judge on American Idol—so he could relax. He says Morton’s neuroma caused his gnarled toes.
The word “neuroma” seems to imply that there is a tumor, says Dr. Allan Boike, a podiatrist and section head of podiatry at Cleveland Clinic, who explains that it’s not a tumor (he says without using his best Schwarzenegger impression). “It’s an irritation or a fibroid.”
Morton’s neuroma is a foot condition that most often affects the nerves between the third and forth toes. Two nerves connect there and they can become trapped under the ligament, causing them to move awkwardly when a person walks, runs, or dances. The nerves thicken, leading to pain and swelling. A patient with Morton’s neuroma complains of stinging in the ball of her foot and say it feels like she is walking on a pebble or marble.