The number of middle-aged women suffering from a painful condition linked with wearing high heels has more than doubled in ten years.
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.
Morton’s neuroma is a common problem which affects a nerve between the toes. Fibrous tissue develops around the nerve and becomes compressed, causing pain.
Sufferers say symptoms range from feeling like there is a pebble inside their shoe to pain akin to ‘walking on razor blades’.
Orthopaedic researcher Andrew Craig of Bradford Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust, who studied 40 Morton’s neuroma patients, said more than half required surgery.
‘Morton’s neuroma is a historically well documented, but poorly understood phenomenon that can be tackled in a few different ways.
‘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.’
Other treatment options include special insoles and steroid injections.
Sometimes surgery will involve complete removal of the compressed nerve, leaving the patient with no feeling between the affected toes.