High heels may be to blame for painful foot condition

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The Endoc
High heels may be to blame for painful foot condition

Wearing high heels may put women at risk of Morton’s neuroma, a painful foot condition which is often described by sufferers as ‘walking on razor blades’, scientists say. The number of people suffering from Morton’s neuroma has more than doubled in the past ten years in the UK, and high heels can be held responsible, researchers said. Four times as many women as men in UK were admitted to hospital with the condition last year, with the largest group of sufferers being women aged between 40 and 69.

In 2004-05, 1,179 women between 40 and 69 were admitted to hospital for treatent of the condition. In 2014-15, the total was 2,532, an increase of 115 per cent. Morton’s neuroma affects the nerve that runs between the toes. Fibrous tissue develops around the nerve and it becomes compressed, causing pain between the toes that has been described by some as “walking on razor blades”. It can be brought on by years of wearing high-heeled or ill-fitting shoes that push the toe bones against the nerve. High-heeled shoes over 5cm are considered particularly problematic, ‘The Times’ reported. Andrew Craig, orthopaedic research fellow at Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust recently presented research into treatment for the condition to the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh’s audit symposium. Craig looked into how well treatments for the condition worked, including using insoles and steroid injections. He found that 55 per cent of patients required surgery. This involves decompressing the nerve by cutting between the affected toes. It can involve completely removing the nerve, leaving the patient without feeling in that area. “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,” Craig said.

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