High Heels = High Number of Problems?

Did you know the average woman will wear high heels for 51 years of her life? It’s no wonder that foot problems will develop! Just what features of high heels make them so bad for your feet? All the problems that stem from high heels center on their incompatibility with human anatomy! 

Stress 1: The angled nature of a high heel means that your forefoot becomes the focus of pressure when walking, climbing stairs, jumping or running! The excess force on this particular section of your foot can lead to stress fractures which are small breaks in your bones that can lead to pain and swelling! 

Stress 2: In the normal weight bearing anatomy of the forefoot, the ball of the foot is cushioned by a thick layer of fat. When wearing high heels, the elevation of the foot causes the fat pad to drift in the direction of your toes and therefore no longer effectively pads the ball of your feet. The increased loading of the forefoot and the movement of the fat pad caused by the high heel produces pressure and pain on the bones called metatarsalgia.

Stress 3: When you slip on high heels you lift your foot which then drastically off-balances the forces that act upon your feet. By altering the force that acts upon your big toe, you might destabilize that joint which could lead to the formation of a bunion. The strain produced by your high heels at your fifth toe can also destabilize that joint and create aTailor’s bunion. These bunions can lead to discomfort and swelling which can then push the other toes out of line! 

Stress 4: Wearing high heels means that your foot is slanted downward instead of being parallel to the ground. Now, gravity has more of a reason to pull you down! If you have worn high heels you know that your foot slides forward into the shoe due to the gravity and this phenomenon leads to a shift in your body weight. The sliding motion results in friction. In an effort to protect itself, your foot will develop thickened areas of skin calledcorns (top of your foot) and calluses (bottom of your foot).  

Stress 5: The sliding action of your foot in a high heel forces your toes into the narrow portion of the shoe. Over time, your toes will start to deform by curling at their middle joint in order to accommodate in the cramped space. The bending at the middle joint of your toe leads to hammertoe formation and the bending of the most distant toe joint causes mallet toe formation. Your joints could even dislocate and may require surgical correction! In addition, these new prominences and their subsequent rubbing against the surface of the shoe lead to the increased incidence of corns and calluses.

There are a host of other foot problems that can be attributed to improper shoe wear. If you decide to wear high heels, keep the following tips in mind:

1. Avoid stilettos to prevent such drastic forces from acting upon your feet. 
2. If the sky-high high heel is the only shoe for you, look for a high heel with a platform bottom so as to provide stability and decrease the actual heel height. 3. Search for shoes with a rounded and spacious toe box instead of pointed-toe versions to prevent the restriction of your feet into such a small space. 
4. Buy good quality inserts to pad and cushion your feet while wearing high heels. 5. Carry a spare pair of sensible shoes with you so that you have the ability to change out of your high heels sooner.  

If you are experiencing pain, discomfort or any of the above mentioned problems come into Beverly Hills Foot and Ankle, P.A. for an appointment today! Dr. Nisha Krishnan will thoroughly evaluate your foot, ankle and lower leg and will customize a treatment plan for your problem!

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