While many women like the look of high heels, we at Gentle Professional Foot Care want to impress upon our patients the serious long-term consequences of spending significant periods of time in this type of shoe. Although a good Epsom salt soak may relieve soreness after an evening spent in heels, in reality this is a minor discomfort that cannot compare to the more disabling problems to come. Here are some compelling reasons to greatly limit (or better yet, eliminate) the wearing of high heels:
1. Pain—we touched upon the general aching and soreness you may experience after hours spent in heels but there are other sources of pain caused by this type of footwear including:
2. Ingrown toenails—high heels force your foot forward and generally squeeze the toes together. Most shoes with high heels also have narrow toe boxes. Constantly having your toes squished together can cause a nail to begin to grow down and into the skin around the nail.
3. Toe deformities—another risk of this unnatural position of the toes is that it can encourage or exacerbate toe deformities. Bunions, where the big toe joint moves out of place and begins to drift toward the second toe, and hammertoes, a condition where a toe being pushed up against the front of a shoe begins to bend downward in the shape of a hammer, are two common types of deformities associated with high heels.
4. Ankle instability—unstable by design, high heels have been the source of many ankle twisting injuries and sprains. Once ankle ligaments are overstretched, it takes a considerable amount of time and rehabilitation to tighten them and to strengthen the muscles that support those ligaments. Patients who sprain an ankle and then continue to wear high heels are inviting repeated sprains which can result in chronic ankle instability that will eventually require surgery to repair.
5. Exercise impediment—another downside to high heels that most women don’t realize is a decrease in their ability to participate fully in their sports and fitness routines. Foot pain causes patients to miss days at the gym or participating in exercise and sports. Over time, decreased strength in the foot and ankle as the result of damage due to wearing high heels can actually result in a decrease in your level of strength and fitness.
If you find that your feet are consistently in pain or notice any other symptoms or weakness that you think can be traced to your heels, it’s important that you make an appointment at our Venice office by calling: 941-493-7999 so our podiatrist, Dr. Charles A. Suleskey, can examine your foot and put you on the path to long-lasting foot health.