The Classic: A Peculiar and Painful Affection of the Fourth Metatarsophalangeal Articulation

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Abstract

Thomas George Morton (1835–1903) was born in Philadelphia. He received his M.D. degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1856, and practiced medicine, specializing in general surgery, in Philadelphia from 1856 to 1860. During the Civil War he was active in the establishment of military hospitals. In 1876 Dr. Morton was appointed commissioner to build a state insane asylum, and in 1886 was chairman of a committee on lunacy. In 1880 Thomas Morton was president of the Pennsylvania Anti-Vivisection Society and he also served as vice president of the Pennsylvania Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children. His research and publications covered blood transfusions as well as other medical topics, but his important contribution to orthopedics was the first rational description of metatarsalgia. Subsequently named “Morton's disease,” the symptoms of metatarsalgia were described as neurologic in origin and attributed to the pressure of bone on the digital nerves as passed between the metatarsal heads between one or more toes.

M.R.U.

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