Zero degree shoes, such as the footwear brand 'Altra' are an excellent choice of shoe, especially if you are a runner suffering with a Morton’s neuroma. Most running shoes lift the heel of the foot around 1-2 cm higher than the forefoot. The lift of the heel increases the forces on the forefoot that cause Morton’s neuroma by 3-4 times.
Running shoes such as Altra and Hocka have a ‘Zero drop’ or 'Zero-Degree Heel'. This means that the heel of the foot and the toes are literally on the same level. Zero-Drop shoes are beneficial for Morton's neuroma sufferers due to the reduction of the forces on forefoot caused by the heel of the foot being higher than the toes.
Shoes with a positive heel raise the heel above the forefoot and push the pad of fat tissue that protects the metatarsal heads and inter-metatarsal nerves forwards. This exposes the nerves to increased compressional forces making Morton’s neuroma more likely.
If you are on a rocky beach this summer think twice about wearing flip flops.
Thin flip flops are often 'Zero-Drop', which as we know is beneficial for Morton's neuroma. However, the toe-post that slots between your toes can compress the 2nd and 3rd metatarsal together, making developing Morton’s neuroma in this region more likely. Thin-soled flip flops also offer little protection from protruding objects underfoot, such as rocks and stones.
Try to remember, the nerves in the forefoot are actually very close to the ground. Sometimes the nerves in the forefoot can be injured by walking on sharp rocks or stones, and such injuries can progress in to Morton’s neuroma.
Studies that measure peak pressures in the feet (plantar pressures) show that, in a flat shoe only 28% of the body’s weight runs through mid-foot region (where Morton’s neuroma form). However, this increases to a staggering 66% of body weight in a high heel.
Not only do the high heels increase plantar pressures they also are tight in the toe box, crushing the contents of your midfoot together, this crushing action is also responsible for Morton’s neuroma formation.
High heels can cause changes to the feet that can trigger Morton’s neuroma even when you aren’t wearing them. This is because regular use of high heels causes a shortening of your Achilles tendon and overtime time can alter the position of your lumbar spine (lumbar lordosis). Unfortunately, both of these issues also increase forefoot plantar pressures and can aggravate Morton’s neuroma.
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