If you are a woman, you may feel like a traitor accepting the following statement: high heels are bad for your feet.
You may not want to accept this idea, but I bet you're not surprised. In fact, it makes perfect sense when you actually picture the shape of your feet as compared to the shape of the actual high heel. Pain is our bodies’ way of communicating that something is awry, and as we all know (probably first hand) just how painful high heels can be after a couple of hours. According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, 87 percent of women suffer due to painful footwear. And high heels are one of the reasons women have four times as many foot problems as men. But what actually happens to your feet when you cram them into those pointy-toed, 4-inch, fire engine red stilettos and hit the town? Let’s take a closer look…
- Ingrown Toenails: This is a lovely condition in which the nail grows in a way that cuts into the sides on the nail bed, often accompanied by inflammation, pus, and quite a bit of pain. They are frequently caused by ill-fitting footwear, specifically shoes with a narrow toe-box, like many high heels (clears throat).
- Bunions: A bunion is an enlargement or bump on the big toe joint. Women are more frequently affected with bunions because of tight, pointed, flat or high-heeled shoes. Unsupportive shoes place excessive pressure through the joint causing the bunion deformity. Then to add insult to injury, tight shoes often aggravate the condition.
- Hammer toes: If you have pointy-toed shoes, that narrow toe box can be forcing your toes into a bent position at the middle joint. Eventually, those muscles can become unable to straighten and the toe just stays bent, looking a lot like a little claw.
- Metatarsalgia: This is a painful condition in the ball of the foot, most often a result of faulty distribution of weight on the forefoot. This pain in the ball of the foot can be caused by wearing heels, since doing so changes the distribution of your weight on your feet.
- Corns, Calluses and Blisters: Corns and calluses are painful thickenings that form in the skin in areas of pressure, in the case of high heels, that is usually in the forefoot. And, blisters, we’ll that one needs no explanation.
- Morton’s Neuroma: When you wear narrow pointed dress shoes and high heels that shift weight onto the balls of the feet, the tissue between the third and forth toes can become thick around the nerve, leading to this condition that causes pain and numbness.
Still not convinced? Let's look at what can happen to the rest of your body...
- Ankles: It is not extremely easy to balance in high heels, so when you wear them you are at a greater risk for a fall that could lead to a broken ankle or a strain.
- Knees: When you wear heels, the change in posture causes excessive force on the inside of the knee, which can lead to osteoarthritis.
- Achilles tendon: When you wear high heels, your Achilles tendon is shortened, and over time can become tighter and painful. Eventually, you could have pain just from walking barefoot, since that requires your Achilles tendon to be longer.
Not to mention the effects that wearing high heels has on posture, back pain, neck pain, and the list goes on. So, now that we know all the ways that high heels can mess up your feet, what can we do about it? We could stop wearing heels altogether and show up to a job interview in New Balance sneakers. But, somehow that doesn't seem like the best option. So, don’t despair, fashion-conscious ladies. There are things you can do to choose the least horrible high heals out there and make the whole experience less potentially painful. So stay tuned because that helpful guide is coming to your right here, next week. In the mean time, have you ever had issues due to high heel use? Did I miss any painful results of high heel usage?