The most comfortable shoes in your closet are most likely NOT those sky-high heels that you HAD to have! You were sucked in by the ‘Carrie Bradshaw look’. You tried them on, and you instantly felt taller, with longer legs, you were sexier and more confident! Do you love strappy, snake-skin, bling, cheetah, or just plain killer black?! They are fabulous, however, these shoes only come out of the closet twice a year. And why only twice? Because it takes about 6 months to forget how horribly painful they are to wear! While these may be great for our self-esteem, and our posture, what about the foot pain that these cause, and what do you do about it?!!
Origins and Risks
Did you know that high heels date back to ancient Egypt? Nobility wore them to distinguish themselves from the peasants. Fancy pants. Then they were worn by butchers – eek. The heels kept their feet above the, well, the yucky stuff. Today, high heels are worn by fashionable women everywhere. However, the choice to rock this type of shoe can have a real effect on you beyond just the temporary pain associated with squeezing your feet into the shoes!
The negative impacts to your feet including the risk of falls, twists, blisters, etc need to be considered. And why is it that when you wear these shoes, that skinny heel finds every crack and bump in the road, making for a less-than-ladylike response?! Staying balanced in these heels is a task in itself, let alone navigating an endless array of uneven walking surfaces waiting to jump out at us! Ninja training should be given free with each purchase, you are going to need it!
Dr. Mark Green of Kansas City Foot and Ankle: “High heeled shoes are inherently unstable. This instability can cause you to fall off your stilettos and twist your ankle; leading to an ankle sprain, a torn ligament or tendon, or even a fractured foot or ankle bone. The theory ‘if it was broken, I wouldn’t be able to walk on it’ isn’t true. Any painful foot or ankle injury should be evaluated right away so that proper, timely treatment can be initiated if necessary.”
Long Term Damage
You should limit your heel wearing to events that do not require a lot of walking. Reserve them for formal occasions such as weddings, dinners and balls. The famous daytime TV doc, Dr. Oz, did a segment on high heels causing joint pain and even a connection to developing arthritis. Dr. Oz’s segment featured a podiatrist talking about the body’s awkward positioning when wearing high heels, and how high heels put our bodies in an unnatural position when we walk. Check out the segment by clicking here.
Some Things Look for Before you Buy
- The heel of the shoe should not be more than 1″ high
- A low, broad heel is preferable – low broad heel will reduce the pressure on the front of the foot
- Shoes should have a well-padded sole to absorb shock and reduce pressure
- The shape and width of the shoe should be the same as your feet – buy the right size!!
- Pointy heels can make toes “claw” and affect overall body posture, look for a wider fit and wider toe box
When in Pain
If you wake up one day in High Heel Hell, grab a tennis ball and use it to roll around the arch of your feet, especially around the forefoot. You may also try raising your feet up and icing them. If you are still in Hell, call for an appointment at Kansas City Foot and Ankle. You should always have your foot or ankle evaluated if there is any swelling, bruising or pain. Our office is equipped with state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment such as digital x-rays and ultrasound to help pinpoint, and diagnose, your pain. Our Doctors are here to get you back on your way to pulling out those heels again in no time!