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

High heels may be good for your style but they’re tough on your feet. Regularly wearing high heels for long periods of time can cause all sorts of foot issues. If you regularly wear high heels and notice pain in your toes, you could be experiencing symptoms of Morton’s neuroma

This painful condition happens when fibrous tissue develops around the nerves in your toes. This causes irritation and compression, resulting in pain and discomfort. Women are up to 10 times more likely than men to have Morton’s neuroma, and cases have surged over the last 10 years. 

If you’re experiencing the symptoms of Morton’s neuroma, or any other condition affecting the feet, podiatrist David J. Kaplan, DPM, and the team at FootCare Specialist, Inc. can help.

Patients who visit our San Mateo and Half Moon Bay, California, offices receive the highest quality of care. Dr. Kaplan performs a comprehensive evaluation and discusses the results with you, along with individualized treatment recommendations. 

Morton’s neuroma overview

High heels are anything but practical. They shift your weight forward, placing the bulk of the pressure on the ball of your foot and toes. In addition to throwing off your gait and posture, wearing high heels for extended periods causes bunions, hammer toes, and calluses.

When you have Morton’s neuroma, fibrous tissue growth develops, usually between your third and fourth toes. This tissue isn’t visible from the outside. However, it can cause significant discomfort.

Symptoms of Morton’s neuroma vary, but people with this condition commonly experience:

These symptoms may worsen when you walk or run. 

The problem with high heels

Your feet are your natural shock absorbers and are designed to distribute your weight evenly. 

Heels interfere with the equal distribution of your weight. Even a low, 1-inch heel can add significantly more pressure to your feet compared with flat shoes. 

As the heel gets higher, the pressure increases. Additionally, high heels are often narrow and squeeze your toes together. This contributes to foot pain and the development of conditions such as Morton’s neuroma. 

Regularly wearing high heels for long periods is a major risk factor. Other risk factors include high-impact sports that involve your toes and foot deformities such as hammer toes, flat feet, or high arches. 

Having more than one risk factor greatly raises your risk for Morton’s neuroma. 

Morton’s neuroma treatment

Dr. Kaplan creates individualized treatment plans for patients with Morton’s neuroma. Conservative treatment is often the first step to getting relief. Your treatment plan may involve:

If conservative treatments fail to provide adequate relief, Dr. Kaplan may recommend surgical intervention such as decompression surgery or surgery to remove the nerve causing the pain. Dr. Kaplan discusses the most appropriate approach for your situation. 

If you have Morton’s neuroma, it’s crucial for you to start wearing well-fitting, comfortable shoes to minimize pain and reduce complications. 

If you aren’t ready to abandon high heels, it’s strongly recommended that you consider lower heels and wearing them for shorter periods of time. Additionally, it helps to switch between heels and flats with proper support. 

To learn more about Morton’s neuroma and to discuss all your foot care needs, call the office most convenient to you or book your appointment using our online scheduler.

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