High heels for women are trendy and getting higher all the time. Sling-backs, platforms, wedges and the highest of all - stilettos - may be fashionable but they are not the best footwear for foot health.
Long-term wearing of high heels can cause many problematic foot conditions ranging from just a nuisance to irreversible tendon damage.
Common Foot Problems Caused by High Heels
Wearing shoes with high heels forces your body weight to shift onto the ball of your foot and presses your toes into an often too-narrow space. This creates too much pressure on the toes causing bunions, calluses and corns and painful ingrown toenails.
The ball of your foot can also become inflamed. This overuse injury, called metatarsalgia, causes pain that often worsens when running or even walking.
Another painful condition in the ball of your foot is a neuroma, or nerve cyst, caused when the metatarsal bones of the foot are squeezed tightly together because of high heels and narrow toes.
Excessive wearing of high heels can also cause a shortened Achilles tendon behind your heel. Left untreated, your leg muscles may become permanently shortened and walking will be difficult even in flat shoes.
Wearing High Heels Can Affect your Spine and Hips Too
Because your body weight shifts when wearing heels, your body's center of gravity changes, tilting you forward. You may not realize it but you will arch your back to compensate for this tilt and this puts your spine out of alignment.
You will also be forced to change your hip position which can even affect your knees and feet!
Can High Heels Be Worn Without Pain?
The answer is yes! By shopping carefully for your heels and limiting the time spent wearing very high shoes, you will be able to enjoy wearing high heels. Here at Palm Beach Orthopaedic Institute we encourage you to keep in mind these commonsense tips: