I love my heels. Heck, I look great in them! I love adding a few inches to my stature, and my calves are to die for. To be honest though, at the end of the day my toes and feet are killing me. Those really bad nights I have to wonder, am I really doing damage to my feet?
I decided to sit down with our foot and ankle specialist and do a bit of my own digging on how I can have my heels and not ruin my feet in the process.
First of all, what’s the worst that could happen other than breaking a heel or falling off the darned things?
Sprains and Fractures–
There you go. Falling off the heels makes the list.
“Those in high heels can more easily twist the foot or ankle. The higher the heel, the more the body weight is pushed forward. This causes the wearer to then lean backward. Thus a tremendous amount of lower leg muscle power is needed to maintain balance.” –American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society
Now, what does that mean?
Pain in the ball of your foot, the area between your arch and the toes. Right where all the weight is isolated to when wearing heels.
No one wants ugly feet, but heels seem to compound this issue. Other than toe fungus and ingrown toenails from tight shoes; the two major issues that seems to pop up frequently are Bunions and hammertoes.
Did you know that more than 1/3 of women in America have Bunions? It has some hereditary aspects to it but studies say that “9 out of 10 Bunions happen to women.”-AOFA
What is a Bunion?
The base of your big toe gets larger and sticks out. Frequently causing the overlying skin to be tender. In severe cases, the big toe may angle toward the other toes. Left untreated, arthritis could develop from unnatural wear on the joint.
Hammertoe is a deformity of the other toes. No toe is spared the wrath of high heel wearing. This condition is characterized by the toe being bent down at the middle joint, resembling a hammer. The affected joints can rub inside shoes and cause corns (buildups of dead skin).
Now, these risks aren’t too surprising and many women take them in stride. So, how can we avoid these conditions?
American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society recommends:
1. To keep from falling off of our glorious heels or rolling our ankles, an ankle strengthening program is vital. This should help with strength and balance.
2. Lowering the heel height. Maybe as I get older 6” heels aren’t really necessary.
3. Open, strappy, sandal-like shoes that don’t touch the toenails.
4.Limit the time wearing the high-heels. The more time in the high heels, the more the toes will be damaged.
5.Consider purchasing a wider toe box type shoe. The more pointed the toe of the shoe, the more crowded the toes will become, leading to deformity.
By: Stephanie Jones