There’s no denying: high heels just aren’t as comfortable as other shoes. Even though high heels sales have been declining, approximately four out of 10 women still sport these trendy shoes daily. High heels might complete your ensemble, but they might be ruining your feet, too.
Our podiatrists at Family Foot and Ankle Center of South Jersey are experts when it comes to recommending the right shoes because we see firsthand the problems that ill-fitting, unsupportive shoes can cause. In this post, we want to share with you how wearing high heels affects your feet and how to choose more supportive shoes.
High heels disrupt your weight distribution
Your feet were designed to carry the weight of your body, but they weren’t meant to do so while wearing high heels. The added height of a pair of high heels adds too much stress to the balls of your feet.
How much stress is too much? Shoes with a 3-inch heel can force your foot into an unnatural position, which places an increase of 75% of your body weight onto the balls of your feet. The combination of the increased pressure and the unnatural foot position can inflame your ligaments and tendons and even contribute to stress fractures in the bones of your feet.
High heels also contribute to the following conditions:
High heels, especially ones with a narrow toe bed, can squeeze your toes and increase your risk of developing an ingrown toenail. Ingrown nails happen when the edge of your nail grows into the soft tissue of your toe, causing redness, swelling, and pain.
Bunions and hammertoes
Pointy shoes, regardless of the heel height, can increase your risk of developing a bunion, which may require bunion surgery in severe cases. High heels, which often are unnaturally pointy or narrow, squeeze your toes together, which also can lead to hammertoes.
High heels don’t just ruin your feet. They can affect your ankles, too. The instability caused by high heels, especially stilettos, increases your risk of twisting your ankle. Your risk increases the more you need to walk in your high heels.
Tip: Even if you occasionally wear high heels at work, consider swapping out your heels for comfortable walking shoes while you’re commuting.
Morton’s neuroma is a thickening of the tissue near the nerves between your third and fourth toes. Ill-fitting athletic shoes and high heels squeeze your toes and put too much pressure on the ball of your feet 一 two factors that increase your risk of developing Morton’s neuroma.
The more often you wear high heels, the more often your toes are compressed. Eventually, the nerves near your toes become too compressed, and a neuroma develops.
It doesn’t take long for a blister to form, especially if you wear high heels without stockings. Blisters are painful, but if you have diabetic foot problems, they can be even more troublesome.
Finding relief from your foot pain
The first step toward relief is trading in your high heels for something with a lower heel. The good news is that you don’t need to give up the idea of trendy shoes. An ideal pair of shoes is:
- The right size — a professional fitting ensures you get the right fit because not all shoe sizes are consistent from brand to brand
- A low heel
- A roomy toe box to prevent squeezing your toes together
If you do choose to wear high heels, don’t wear them every day. Alternate your higher-heeled shoes with more modest ones to give your feet a break.
We diagnose and treat many foot conditions right here in our Cherry Hill, New Jersey, office. Whether you need prescription orthotics, corticosteroid injections for a neuroma, a surgical procedure for an ingrown nail or bunion, or care for a fracture, we can help you get back on your feet.
If you’ve developed a painful foot condition as a result of wearing high heels, call our friendly and knowledgeable staff at 856-266-9572 to schedule your appointment.