Many women in the greater Philadelphia area believe that they look – and feel – their best while wearing high heels. But long-term high heel wearing can result in serious foot problems. Some conditions like calluses, corns and ingrown toenails and can be easily resolved. However, excessive wearing of high heels can also cause tendon damage that may be irreversible.
High Heels Cause Foot Problems and Can Affect your Whole Body
Toes that are compressed into a too-small space can cause ingrown toenails as well as corns, calluses and bunions. When the metatarsal bones in the ball of the foot are squeezed together too tightly, a painful cyst called a neuroma may form on a nerve.
If high heels are worn for too long, your Achilles tendon at the back of the heel may become shortened. A too-short tendon can permanently shorten the leg muscles, which will make walking difficult, even in flat shoes.
Also, when wearing high heels, your body weight shifts to the ball of the foot instead of the heel. The ball of the foot is not designed for that much pressure. Because of this weight shift, you may find your body tilting forward because your center of gravity is modified. Your body will respond by arching your back, which puts your spine out of line, and the resulting change in hip position can even affect your knees.
Wearing High Heels without Foot Problems
Don’t worry ladies – the foot doctors at Your Next Step aren’t telling you to empty your shoe closet! By shopping carefully and limiting the time spent wearing high heels, you will be able to enjoy your stylish footwear:
- Look for shoes with 2-inch heels or less.
- Avoid shoes with very narrow heel bases like stilettos. Wedges that have wider heel bases are more stable and evenly distribute your weight.
- Select shoes with a generous toe box to prevent too much pressure on toes.
- Alternate between flat shoes and high heels.
- Wear flat sturdy shoes for your commute – you can change into higher heels when at work.
- Add inner soles with cushioning to higher shoes to lessen impact and pressure.
- Pass up on “peep toes” that may cause ingrown toenails when toes are forced too far forward.
- Protect your tendons by gently stretching lower calf muscles regularly.
Contact Us if Discomfort or Pain Persists
If you continue to have foot pain from high heels, a shoe change may not be enough. Reach out for our board certified or qualified podiatrists Dr. Eric Ricefield, Dr. Mark Yagodich and Dr. Aliza V. Eisen for an evaluation. We will examine your feet and discuss diagnoses and treatment options. You can reach us at our Ardmore and Paoli, PA offices by calling 610-642-8837 or contact us at the website for quick relief from foot pain.