Unknowingly, I did TERRIBLE damage to my feet! I thought foot pain in high heels was normal and just the price you pay for fashion. Don't all ladies feet hurt at the end of a night out? I now suffer from something called Morton's Neuroma. Basically spending so much time with my toes squished together and weight on the balls of feet caused the nerves in my feet to be damaged and thicken. The nerves in our feet are normal at 1-2 mm wide, an ultrasound of my feet revealed mine are 10mm wide!
I didn't really notice it affecting me until I started training for my second half marathon. It started innocently enough, my toes would go numb on long runs or I would feel like my socks were bunching in my shoe and I'd stop to fix it because it was annoying. Because of this I probably tried five different brands of socks. Nothing changed.
Things got worse as my mileage increased. As I trained for my full marathon. The annoying feelings changed to pain. I remember running a ten mile race half way through marathon training and at mile 8, feeling like I had bee stings on the balls of my feet. My pace slowed considerably those final two miles. I started doing my own research and found Morton's Neuroma. Through a recommendation from my running club for a good sports podiatrist I found Dr. Lee Firestone. He qualified for the Boston Marathon so I knew he'd get the fact that I wasn't going to take stop running as an answer ;-).
In January, he confirmed it was indeed Morton's Neuroma and that it is much more common in women due to the high heel issue and damage they cause :-(. We did two shots in each foot of cortisone in attempt to atrophy, or kill, the nerves in my feet. We also put makeshift orthotics in my shoes to lessen the pressure on the toes and balls of my feet. He also showed me how to tie my shoes to lessen the pressure:
I've been not running any training runs for the past 14 weeks due to a quad/hip injury and during that time my feet have developed pain even when not running. I was limping through the airport a few weeks back :-(. I tried my first attempts at a training run this week and was literally stopped in my tracks by the foot pain. I was also trying out a new shoe, the Brooks Pure Flow which I loved when not running, but when running I realized the toe box was too small and causing additional pain.
I made another appointment, got custom orthotics to wear daily to take stress of the nerves and another round if cortisone shots, this time in right foot only since that's the worst one. I can't do cortisone too much because it can began to atrophy the foot and the skin will begin to dimple :-(. He told me to wait 3 weeks for the cortisone to take full effect and if I'm still in pain we will move to alcohol injections once a week for six weeks.
My final resort will be surgery to remove the nerves. I'm trying to avoid that at all costs because the recovery time being off my feet for weeks, including no driving for first week, is just too much.
Basically, it's been a nightmare. I wish I could go back and shake my 20-something self and say NO HIGH HEELS! They are not worth it!
If you start to feel tingling or numbness in your toes or balls of feet, go see a podiatrist. Try to catch it early so they don't continue to grow and get worse! And stop wearing the high heels ladies :-)