Best High Heels if You Have a Morton’s Neuroma

One of the most common foot complaints is pain in the ball of the foot and one of the most common causes of ball of foot pain is a “Morton’s neuroma”.  A neuroma is an enlargement of the nerve that runs between the 3rd and 4th metatarsal heads.

You can learn everything you need to know about treatment neuromas in our Morton’s Neuroma Treatment Guide.  If you are in the Seattle area, contact us for an appointment so we can help you comprehensively treat your neuroma.

This article, however, is focused only on helping women wear high heels comfortably, even when they have a neuroma.

Why Do Neuromas Hurt More in High Heels?

Wearing high heels can increase the pain that neuroma for two primary reasons:

  • The increased heel height results in more pressure on the ball of the foot. When there is too much pressure on the ball of the foot, the symptoms of a neuroma can increase.
  • The narrow toe box causes side-to-side compression of the foot and, subsequently, the neuroma.

How Can Neuroma Pain be Decreased in a High Heel?

There are several things you can do to decrease neuroma pain when wearing a high heel.  Among those are specific shoes and orthotics to decrease pressure and/or tension on the foot neuroma. Below are the shoes and orthotics we recommend to our patients (and our families) and they are also affiliate links so we may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you if your order from the link.

Buy Shoes with a Wider Toe Box

First, you can buy heels with a wider toe box. This results in less side-to-side compression of your forefoot and the neuroma.  We have been very impressed with many of the new Dansko high heels.  Dansko used to be known only for their (rather ugly) clogs. Over the past few years, however, they have come out with an ever increasing number of more attractive dress shoes.  Almost all of their dress shoes have a relatively roomy toe box that will reduce compression that causes neuroma pain.

Have Your High Heels Stretched

Second, if you have leather high heels, you can have the shoe stretched.  Stretching the shoe to increase the width will help reduce side-to-side compression of the neuroma. You can achieve the best stretch by taking the shoe to a shoe repair shop. They will need to keep the shoe for several days to achieve an adequate stretch.  You can learn more by reading our Guide to Shoe Stretching.

Use an Orthotic in High Heels

Third, you can use an orthotic in your shoe. An orthotic with good arch support will transfer pressure off of the ball of the foot and onto the arch of the foot. This can dramatically help reduce neuroma pain.  The key is to find an orthotic that both fits into high heels and effectively transfers pressure off of the ball of foot.

You have two general options – a prefabricated orthotic and a custom orthotic.

The advantage of prefabricated orthotics is that they are much less expensive than custom orthotics and there are some very good ones on the market. The disadvatage of prefabricated orthotics is that they do not conform as close to the foot as a well-made custom orthotic so they simply do not work as well (again, this assumes the custom orthotic was made correctly).

Because, however, there are some very good over-the-counter arch supports made for high heels we think it is logical to start with the prefabricated orthotic. If that doesn’t provide enough relief then seek out a podiatrist who specializes in orthotic therapy to see about a custom orthotic.

Best Prefabricated Orthotic for High Heels

Our preferred prefabricated orthotic for high heels is the FootChair Slim Orthotic with Adjustable Arch Height. This is a very unique orthotic as it comes with pads that can be placed in a pocket under the arch to increase the arch height.  If you have a Morton’s neuroma you will want to use the highest arch that is comfortable in order to most effectively transfer pressure off of the ball of the foot.

Custom Orthotics for High Heels 

Custom orthotics for dress shoes can be designed very specifically to reduce the forces that cause neuroma pain. When made

Custom dress shoe orthotic

correctly they will conform closer to your arch than the prefabricated orthotics and thus transfer more pressure off of the ball of the foot.

In addition, custom orthotics can incorporate special pads that can separate the metatarsal heads to decrease side-to-side compression on the neuroma.

If you are in the Seattle area, contact us for an appointment to discuss custom orthotics to treat Morton’s neuroma. Be sure to bring a selection of your high heels with you to your appointment.

Buy High Heels with a Built-in Orthotic to Transfer Pressure off Neuromas

Wearing a high heel that has a built-in orthotic will transfer pressure off of the ball of the foot and give the foot more protection and comfort. This can help with a number of foot problems, and especially for ball of foot pain and neuromas. We have reviewed many high heels and one of our favorites is the Earthies High Heels. There are dozens of styles to choose from in this brand of fashionable, healthy high heels.

Use a High Heel with a Rocker Sole to Decrease Tension on Foot Neuromas

When choosing a high heel to wear when you have a neuroma, a shoe with a rigid rocker sole will decrease bending of the toes and by doing so decrease tension on the nerve that has the neuroma.

Many of the Earthies High Heels and Boots do have rocker soles, along with the built-in orthotic.

The brand, however, that has the best rocker soles on a majority of their shoes are the Dansko high heels. We mentioned Dansko above as a high heel that also has a wider toe box. If you have a neuroma or difficulty wearing high heels, these high heels are worth a try.

For a list of all of our favorite shoes, download our List of Recommended Shoes here.

Comprehensive Treatment of Morton’s Neuroma

For those of you suffering with Morton’s neuroma, we hope this article has helped you in finding ways to be more comfortable when wearing high heels and other dress shoes.

Morton’s neuroma, however, does usually require a more comprehensive approach to completely eliminate the pain.

Read our Guide to Morton’s Neuroma Treatment to learn about all of the available treatments.

If you are in the Puget Sound region, contact us for an appointment to discuss the best options to treat your foot pain.


Doctors Hale and Huppin
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