High Heels and Morton’s Neuroma: Yes There is a Connection

If you regularly experience pain on the ball of your foot, especially near your third and fourth toes, you might have Morton’s neuroma. The pain and discomfort Morton’s neuroma causes can make walking excruciatingly difficult.

One of the most common causes of Morton’s neuroma is wearing improper footwear, especially high heels. Practicing at Bregman Foot-Ankle & Nerve Center, in Las Vegas, Nevada, Peter Bregman, DPM, explains the connection between Morton’s neuroma and wearing high-heeled shoes, and how to find relief.

Defining Morton’s neuroma

Morton’s neuroma is a foot condition that causes pain in the front part of your foot. A neuroma develops in your nerves when the nerve tissues thicken. In Morton’s neuroma, the nerve that becomes thicker is located between your third and fourth toes.

Typically, Morton’s neuroma develops because of nerve irritation that causes tissue thickening in the nerve. This usually happens because of the stress or pressure you’ve put on your foot.

Morton’s neuroma symptoms

Symptoms of Morton’s neuroma occur in our near the ball of the foot, especially between the third and fourth toes. You’ll experience pain and discomfort in that area, which can include sensations of burning, tingling, numbness, and soreness.

The frequency and level of discomfort depend on the severity of your Morton’s neuroma. Initially, you might only experience symptoms of discomfort occasionally, or when you wear footwear or do activities that aggravate the nerve.

As Morton’s neuroma becomes more advanced, you might experience symptoms constantly, even when you’re sitting down. Your pain and discomfort often become more severe and chronic.

The connection between high heels and Morton’s neuroma

Improper footwear, especially regularly wearing high heels, is the most common cause of Morton’s neuroma. Research shows women get Morton’s neuroma eight times more often than men, probably because women are much more likely to frequently wear narrow, high-heeled shoes.

High heels put your feet at risk of Morton’s neuroma because they force your foot forward into the toe box of your shoes. This puts higher pressure onto the nerve. This effect is intensified when your high-heeled shoes are also narrow in the toe area.

The more often you wear high heels, the greater your odds of developing Morton’s neuroma. Daily wearers are at the highest risk.

How to treat Morton’s neuroma

In milder, earlier stages of Morton’s neuroma, you can treat the condition by consistently wearing flat, wider shoes with ample space in the toe box. If your pain and discomfort persist after changing your footwear, it’s time to make an appointment at Bregman Foot-Ankle & Nerve Center.

Using advanced X-ray and ultrasound technology, Dr. Bregman carefully evaluates your foot to diagnose Morton’s neuroma. After confirming the diagnosis, he develops a treatment plan to relieve your pain.

Usually, Dr. Bregman recommends modifications to your footwear, including custom orthotics and special padding you can wear inside your shoes. If changes to footwear and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin, don’t stop the pain, he also might recommend corticosteroid injections.

If pain in the ball of your foot is impacting the quality of your life, Dr. Bregman can bring you relief from Morton’s neuroma at Bregman Foot-Ankle & Nerve Center. You can make an appointment at his Las Vegas office online or by phone.

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