80% of patients treated at our Centre are women and the major cause of their condition is inappropriate footwear! It is therefore no surprise that suitable footwear can help with the symptoms of Morton's neuroma.
Why should footwear be considered in the management of Morton's neuroma?
Shoes are a major cause of Morton's neuroma. Some patients experience minimal pain in the summer months due to being able to wear sandals, whilst others experience pain all year round.
Virtually all studies demonstrate a much higher incidence of Morton's neuroma in women (a ratio of 7:3). Footwear is likely to be a major contributing factor. That’s why we consider footwear advice as integral to managing the condition effectively.
The ideal footwear choice is often a wide shoe with a lace or strap, a slight heel and excellent forefoot cushioning. Any shoe that causes excessive side-to-side pressure can provoke issues. This is why skiers and cyclists suffer more frequently from Morton's neuroma.
Shoes that may help with Morton's neuroma:
FIT Flop sandals and shoes
This kind of footwear has been shown to reduce symptoms in many patients. The benefits include a reasonable heel height, which reduces tension on the nerve, alongside a slight rocker effect and significant forefoot cushioning. In particular, FIT Flop sandals reduce side compression on the foot. This is why some patients find the sandal version more helpful that the shoe version.
Some patients find these helpful.
Shoes with a slight heel
Completely flat shoes can aggravate Morton's neuroma in people who have tight calf muscles and reduced associated ankle flexibility. Individuals with good flexibility are often able to tolerate flat shoes and may suit a flat trainer like those by "Converse".
Shoes with wide toe box
Compression of the foot is a major aggravating cause of Morton's neuroma; we therefore do not recommend shoes with a narrow toe box. Shoes by Mephisto, Hotter and Clarks (e.g. Clarks Wave) often offer good support with a wide toe box.
Shoes with increased forefoot cushioning
Our pressure studies have consistently shown increased forefoot pressures at the location of the neuroma. A thin-soled shoe (especially when combined with a high heel) significantly increases forefoot pressures. Wearers of these types of shoe are therefore at greater risk of developing a neuroma.
We often recommend specialised trainers based on foot and sport type. The image to the left shows a typical shoe for runners with mild to moderate instability. This shoe is also suitable for casual use.