Do you like wearing high heels? Most people would say no because of how uncomfortable they are. The steep shape of the heel and a shoe’s narrow toe box both make for a painful walking experience. However, many women still wear them in hopes of looking their absolute best.
Unfortunately, high heels do come with some problems. Besides being uncomfortable and even painful for the person wearing them, a pair of high heels may also cost them their podiatric health. In addition, high heels change how you walk, put extreme pressure on your heels, and cram your toes together.
As a result, people develop foot ailments such as bunions, plantar fasciitis, hammertoes, and Morton’s neuroma. This article will shed light on what Morton’s neuroma is and how metatarsal pads can help relieve foot pain stemming from it.
If you’re interested to learn more about Morton's neuroma and metatarsal pads, scroll down and read the rest of this article!
What is Morton’s Neuroma?
If you enjoy high-impact sports such as running, tennis, and gymnastics, you might be susceptible to Morton’s neuroma. But what is it anyway? Morton’s neuroma is a foot condition that initially feels like walking on a pebble, later developing to a more intense and painful sensation.
This foot ailment develops due to the thickening of your nerves’ tissues that lead up to your toes. Morton’s neuroma typically develops somewhere between your inner toes, usually due to extreme pressure or trauma.
While other foot problems like bunions have visible symptoms, Morton’s neuroma doesn’t change the outward appearance of your foot, making it harder to diagnose. In addition, other symptoms arise due to Morton’s neuroma, such as forefoot pain from the ball of the foot and, in some cases, numbness of your toes.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should consult a foot specialist or a podiatrist. Foot specialists have the expertise and experience to diagnose your foot problems properly. Besides their medical knowledge, they also have the equipment to “see-through” your foot using an x-ray machine.
What Are the Causes of Morton’s Neuroma?
Morton’s neuroma can be a little bit tricky to diagnose, especially in the absence of a medical professional. The sensation coming from this foot condition can range from mild discomfort to excruciating forefoot pain. But what causes this painful foot ailment in the first place?
The usual culprit is bad-fitting footwear, like high heels and other shoes that have an unergonomic shape. Due to shoe design, the foot is subjected to tight toe boxes that cramp the toes together and force the foot into harmful positions.
Like many foot ailments, Morton’s neuroma can be a symptom or effect of other foot problems. For example, hammertoes, bunions, high arches, and flat feet are related to Morton’s neuroma. An experienced podiatrist would be able to diagnose and treat all these foot conditions that affect your foot.
Another possible cause of Morton’s neuroma is engaging in high-impact activities. Examples of this are tennis, volleyball, basketball, sprinting, and soccer. These sports put immense pressure on your heels and joints.
Can Morton’s Neuroma Be Cured?
Once you start experiencing the symptoms of Morton’s neuroma, you should try changing your lifestyle first. You can do this by swapping out your tight shoes for a pair that has a roomier toe box. In addition, you can use orthotic insoles and metatarsal foot pads that promote good foot health.
However, if the pain or discomfort persists, you should consider booking an appointment with a foot specialist. A podiatrist has the expertise and right equipment to diagnose and treat your foot properly. In addition, they can prescribe you anti-inflammatory medication and orthotics that can help relieve the metatarsal pain you are experiencing.
Morton’s neuroma can be treated in numerous ways, depending on how severe the case is. First, your podiatrist may propose a mid-term to long-term treatment for your foot. This treatment starts with more conventional or home-based remedies and slowly progresses to injections and even surgery.
Since Morton’s neuroma involves the thickening of the tissue, alcohol sclerosing injections can be used to provide pain relief to the affected area. However, a study has shown that only fewer than half of those who take alcohol sclerosing shots remain free from symptoms after the treatment.
What Does a Metatarsal Pad Do?
After the visit to the clinic, your foot doctor might recommend using metatarsal foot pads as a conservative or non-invasive method for pain relief. Otherwise known as “met pads,” metatarsal pads provide support to the ball of the foot, cushioning it as it withstands impact and pressure from your day-to-day activities.
Morton’s neuroma arises from the thickening of the tissues on your forefoot. A properly placed footpad can provide a soft foot cushion and reliable support to this same area of your foot. Metatarsal pads can do this by shifting the load from one area of your foot to another, resulting in a more even distribution of weight across your foot.
Due to how effective they are, they are fondly called the unsung heroes of podiatry. Many foot problems can be resolved by using orthotics like met pads and shoe insoles in conjunction with healthy habits. In addition, thanks to met pads, you can avoid undergoing surgery which can be expensive and painful.
Where Should Metatarsal Pads Be Placed?
For them to be truly effective, you should consider where to put metatarsal pads. The key to immediate pain relief is placing your metatarsal pad in the most effective position. An improperly positioned footpad can cause even more harm to your already affected foot.
Make sure to place your met pads in the area below the ball of the foot. By putting the met pads there, they can relieve the pressure from the ball of the foot. As you may remember, Morton’s neuroma often affects the same part of the foot. So by placing a cushion in that part of the foot, you get to enjoy immediate pain relief.
However, you can experiment with many different positions to nail down the perfect spot. For example, try inserting them in your socks and shoes like an insole, and then walk while wearing them. Change the position a few times until you settle on the position that works best for you.
Are Metatarsal Pads Effective?
Metatarsal pads are a cost-effective solution for foot pain induced by Morton’s neuroma. But how effective are they? Studies have shown that the use of metatarsal pads effectively relieves pain and pressure from the foot. However, their placement beneath your foot also matters and affects how effective your met pads will be.
Different manufacturers have experimented with various shapes, sizes, and designs to search for the most effective met pads. But its efficacy may differ depending on the unique shape and size of your foot. Furthermore, with the countless met pads available for sale in the market, trial and error will be a bit costly.
Specifications that you should look out for include a pad’s materials, length, and surface area. Different materials will feel different on your foot. Some are soft, while others are firm. It all boils down to your personal preference and your specific use case. Once you nail down the met pads for you, you will get to enjoy immediate pain relief over long periods.
Morton’s neuroma can start as a mild discomfort. However, if left untreated, it can develop into a life-disrupting condition. It’s a difficult foot problem to diagnose because its causes lie beneath the skin and leave no outward and visible signs. If you experience the symptoms of Morton’s neuroma, it is highly advised to visit a podiatrist.
For immediate pain relief, you can rely on orthotics like metatarsal pads to help you get back on your feet as soon as possible.