Can Wearing High Heeled Shoes Cause Morton's Neuroma Surgery?
My Personal Experience
If you want a clear answer to the question of whether wearing high heeled shoes causes Morton's neuroma, the answer is a definite maybe. Most foot doctors would recommend wearing better shoes for beneficial care of the feet.
I have had personal experiences with Mr. Morton on two occasions going back to the 1970s and let me tell you it was not pleasant.
Back in those days, I spent much time on my feet as my profession was that of being an operating room nurse at Methodist Hospital in the heart of the Texas Medical Center in Houston, Texas.
I usually worked the day shift which meant being all suited up with those gorgeous (I'm facetious here!) OR clothes, disposable caps covering our hair and disposable booties covering our shoes. In those days the women wore wraparound type dresses, and the men got to wear trousers and shirt tops all in a blue or green color which got very faded as they were laundered over time by the hospital. We are not talking high fashion here folks!
Except for the cases of surgery performed under local anesthetic, most of our patients were already drowsy due to pre-op medications administered before they entered the operating room theater and of course, during surgery, they were out cold due to the anesthesia.
A typical joke back then if those of us working in the OR saw each other outside of that environment was to say that we looked good in our clothes. Anyone overhearing that type of remark probably wondered about us and in what kind of profession we were engaged. Haha!
Working As An Operating Room Nurse
The day shift was from 7 AM to 3:30 PM and most of us were changing clothes and exchanging a few pleasantries in the nurse's lounge around 6:30 AM before getting busy with the rest of our day.
Of course, if we were scheduled to be "on call" and the surgeries ran past the time of 3:30 PM we merely stayed in the OR and finished the job no matter how long it took if the smaller staffed evening shift could not handle the load.
Being an operating room nurse whether one was the scrub nurse or the circulating nurse meant spending long hours on one's feet.
Some Footage of an Actual Surgery...
What a Pain!
Mr. Morton paid me a visit, and he worked his way into my life in an insidious way over a considerable period. All I realized was that after a day of work my one foot was getting more and more painful.
After getting home, I would put my feet up after taking off my shoes and endured the painful burning sensation for some time.
A night's rest seemed to alleviate it but as time progressed I was limping in the corridor of the OR suite one day when a surgeon asked me what appeared to be the trouble. He had me hop up onto a stretcher outside of an OR and examined my feet. Presto! Instant diagnosis! Morton's neuroma.
It did not take long for surgery to be scheduled, and when completed, the surgeon told me that he had never previously seen one that was so large. When one developed in the other foot a few years later, I did not wait so long to have it remedied.
Risk Factors, and Treatment for Morton's Neuroma
Enlargement and abnormal growth of the nerve typically between the third and fourth toes and just above the pad of the foot can cause all kinds of havoc. As one walks, runs or otherwise hits the ground with one's foot, the ligament on top of the nerve causes compression.
When the nerve becomes enlarged, one is in for some pain, burning sensations or even numbness. Some people also report the feeling of walking on a marble or rock.
Numbness would have been welcomed in my case over the throbbing pain and burning that I experienced, but since I had waited so long to seek treatment, surgery was the only choice left.
Risk factors include the following:
- Wearing high-heeled shoes.
- Wearing tight shoes constricting the toe box area.
- Engaging in high-impact sports which do repetitive damage to the feet.
- Having preexisting foot deformities.
- Bearing excess weight.
If one seeks treatment earlier, other options are available with surgery as a last resort. Alternatives include the following:
- Pain medications (usually over the counter)
- Specific foot exercises
- Steroids to reduce the swelling
- Injections, as well as ablation procedures, done under ultrasound guidance which is a newer approach.
The relief was instant in my case after the surgery.
Heed the warning signals and seek help if these symptoms sound familiar.
Being a Fashionista Can Hurt!
I used to wear many high-heeled shoes when I was younger, and that is one possible cause of developing Morton's neuroma according to the Mayo Clinic and many other sources. Wearing very tight shoes is another possible causation.
Women outnumber men by a considerable number when it comes to developing Morton's neuromas. According to the Cleveland Clinic, women are eight to ten times more likely to develop this malady.
Comparing men's shoes with women's shoes, it is no wonder! Most men's shoes have spacious areas for their toes and sensible heel heights. In comparison to men's shoes, look at the pointy toes and sky-high elevated yet skinny heels that females are encouraged to purchase and then navigate wearing.
Some time ago (after having had two surgeries for Morton's neuromas) and also being granted a few more years with which to gain some wisdom, I decided that I no longer had to buy the latest and greatest fashion of the moment when it comes to purchasing women's shoes.
Lower heels and even flats suit me just fine these days. If one searches, it is possible to find shoes with more room for toes to reside in more comfortable surroundings and even wiggle a little. It may not be easy, but it is worth the effort in the long run to find such foot friendly adornments.
So does wearing high heeled shoes cause Morton's neuromas? There seems to be some evidence towards that theory, and I'm not taking any chances.
Do you always follow the latest trends when it comes to shoe fashions?
Assessment Technique for Suspected Cases of Morton's Neuroma
Have you ever suffered with a Morton's Neuroma?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2009 Peggy Woods