Imagine this: You slip into a pair of stylish high heels and you’re ready to conquer the day. However, as the day progresses, an unwelcome companion might join you — the discomfort of Morton's neuroma.
A neuroma is a cluster of benign nerve tissue, and the connection between high heels and this painful condition is real. Understanding it is the first step in managing your foot pain.
Our podiatrists at Manhattan Podiatry Associates, PC, in Midtown and Downtown Manhattan, are experts at diagnosing and treating neuromas, but we also want to do our part to help you prevent issues. Knowing the dangers of high heels and choosing other, more supportive footwear may help reduce your risk of a neuroma in the future.
Continue reading to learn more about the connection between high heels and Morton’s neuroma.
4 ways high heels and neuromas are connected
High heels are no doubt stylish, but they can increase your risk of a neuroma (and other foot pain) in these four ways:
High heels put too much pressure on your toes
Every step you take in those towering heels places excessive pressure on the ball of your foot. The unnatural positioning squeezes the nerves between your metatarsal bones and can lead to the development of Morton's neuroma over time.
If you do wear heels, keep in mind the higher the heel, the greater the strain on your forefoot. Choose heels with a lower height, or ideally, wear supportive flats.
High heels often have a narrow toe box
Many high-heeled shoes come with narrow and tight toe boxes. When your toes are cramped, the risk of nerve compression and irritation heightens. This is the perfect recipe for Morton’s neuroma.
High heels affect your gait
Strutting in high heels alters your natural walking mechanics. Your gait changes and places more stress on your forefoot, contributing to the development of neuromas. The more frequently you wear high heels, the more pronounced these alterations become.
Tip: If you do choose to wear high heels, consider wearing supportive shoes on your commute to work and then switching to your high heels. You can also alternate which days you wear high heels to give your feet a break.
Repetitive foot trauma can accumulate
Wearing high heels regularly subjects your feet to repeated trauma. Over time, this cumulative stress can lead to inflammation of the nerves in your toes and the formation of Morton's neuroma.
What can you do to protect your feet?
Look for shoes with a wide toe box that allows your toes to spread naturally and minimizes the risk of nerve compression. Ideally, the best pair of shoes:
- Features the right type of arch support for you
- Is the right size (always get professionally measured)
- Has a wide toe box
- Features a heel that’s less than two inches
You may also consider reserving high heels for special occasions and avoid prolonged periods of wear. Supportive inserts can help distribute pressure more evenly and reduce the strain on your forefoot.
What if you already have a neuroma?
While the above practices can help reduce your risk of developing a neuroma, it’s still possible for you to develop one. The good news is that our Manhattan Podiatry Associates, PC, team provides all the neuroma care you need under one roof.
Special padding, custom-made orthotics, steroid injections, and in severe cases, surgery can go a long way in helping you find relief from your neuroma.
Help is just a call or click away. Schedule your appointment with our team today and get the relief your feet deserve!