Wearing high heels for too long can aid the development of Motron’s neuroma

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Wearing high heels for too long can aid the development of Motron's neuroma
Image credit: Flickr (CC) / William Murphy

We know, we know, you love high heels. We do too. But if you wear them ALL the time, you can bring in some problems, especially at older age. Like Morton’s neuroma for example.

A new research from the Health and Social Care Information Centre show that cases of Morton’s neuroma have risen by 115% since 2004 among women aged 40 to 69. It also states that women are up to four times more likely to develop the condition than men and researchers think high heels and other ill-fitting shoes that women love to wear could be the main culprit.

Morton’s neuroma is a condition which disturbs the nerves between the toes. It can lead to serious pain that suffering women describe as “walking on razor blades” or at the very least they feel like there is a sharp peeble in the shoe at all times. Usually more than half of patients need surgery to cure the problem which, if not treated, can lead to total loss of feeling in the toes.

“Wearing heels puts excessive pressure on the ball of the foot which can increase the risk of Morton’s. But high heels have been around for centuries so the sudden rise in Morton’s neuroma cannot be solely blamed on the heel itself – but the amount of time women spend wearing them”, says Matthew Fitzpatrick, a member of the college of podiatry to the Daily Express.

He thinks women feel pressured by the fashion trends to wear high heels all the time. Which, if they do for years and years, can lead to painful conditions like Morton’s neuroma and others. So he says he always advises his patients to wear trainers to and from work and mix up their shoes, not always opting just for high heels.

The NHS on the other hands advises not to wear high heels over 2-inches or 5 cm for too long and avoid pointy toed shoes, which restrain the toes even more.

“We have known for a long time that the condition seems to predominantly affect females of a middling age, with speculation that high heels and other such tightly fitting and unnatural footwear – despite looking fabulous, I’m sure – may play a role”, says Andrew Craig, an orthopaedic research fellow at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust who presented the research. He also notes that foot numbness can be a sing of other body conditions, like diabetes, so it should not be taken lightly.

Specialists say that special insoles can also be of use to help lower the risk. Apart from that, wearing high heels more rarely, opting for different types and heights of heels, wearing trainers and other comfortable shoes and taking good care of your feet and overall fit condition, should not only minimize the risk, but make you feel much more comfortable with yourself and better overall.

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