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High Heels to Blame for Foot Condition

It’s been in the news a lot recently that a steep incline of patients have been diagnosed with the condition Morton’s neuroma. Morton’s neuroma is an agonising condition in the foot where fibrous tissue develops around the nerve, which becomes irritated and compressed. This causes severe pain on the ball of the foot and at the base of the toes. High Heels or ill-fitting shoes are generally the cause of the condition. A neuroma is growth (benign tumour) that arises in nerve cells. The most common location of a Morton's neuroma is in either the second or the third spacing from the base of the big toe.

Cases of Morton’s neuroma have risen by 115 per cent since 2004 among women aged 40 to 69, according to figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre. Women are up to ten times more likely than men to suffer from the condition, which is thought to be caused by years of wearing high-heeled or ill-fitting shoes, and the NHS warns against wearing high heeled shoes over 5cm (2 in) can be particularly problematic, along with shoes designed with a pointed toe.

Treatments for the condition include:

  • changing the type of shoes you usually wear – shoes with a wider toe area may help ease the pressure on the nerve in your foot

  • using orthotic devices – such as a support for the arch of your foot to help relieve the pressure on the nerve

  • painkilling medication – anti-inflammatory painkillers or a course of steroid injections into the affected area of your foot may help ease the pain and inflammation

  • numbing injections – alcohol and local anaesthetic is injected into your foot using ultrasound for guidance; studies have shown that this type of treatment is effective

Wearing shoes that fit properly and that have plenty of room in the toe area may help prevent Morton's neuroma.

Thanks for reading,

Martha King

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