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Beware the Risks of Wearing High Heels

High heels are high fashion and many women enjoy wearing them. But long-term high heel wearing can cause foot problems like corns and calluses and ingrown toenails, and even tendon damage that may be irreversible.

Your Whole Body is Affected by Wearing High Heels

While wearing high heels, your body weight shifts to the ball of the foot which is not designed to bear that much weight. Your toes are forced into the tip of the shoe.

With this body weight shift, your center of gravity is affected and your body tilts forward. Unconsciously you arch your back to compensate, and this sends your spine out of alignment. Your hip position also changes which affects your feet and knees.

High Heels Cause Many Common Foot Problems

Excess pressure on the toes can cause corns and calluses, bunions and ingrown toenails. Sometimes the ball of the foot can become painfully inflamed, a condition called metatarsalgia. If the metatarsal bones of the ball of the foot are squeezed together, a neuroma may form which is a painful cyst on a nerve.

Wearing high heels may also result in a shortened Achilles tendon in the back of the heel. Over time this can permanently shorten the leg muscles, making walking difficult even in flat shoes.

You Can Wear High Heels without Pain

Ladies, don’t worry! Stavros O. Alexopoulos, DPM assures you that with some careful shopping and limiting the time spent in high heels, you can continue to enjoy your closet full of fashionable heels. Use common sense when purchasing and wearing heels:

  • Choose shoes with heels that ideally are 2 inches high or less.
  • Reduce impact by adding inner soles with soft cushioning.
  • Avoid excess pressure on the toes by selecting shoes with a generous toe area.
  • Take a break from heels by alternating with flat shoes.
  • Stay away from stilettos that have very narrow heel bases. Wedges and other shoes with wider heel bases are more stable and allow weight to be more evenly distributed.
  • Get in the habit of wearing sturdy flat shoes for commuting – you can change into your dressy high heels at work.
  • Avoid high heels with “peep toes” as toes slip forward in these and may result in an ingrown toenail.

Make stretching a regular part of your fitness routine to lengthen tendons.

Continued Foot Pain from High Heels is not Normal

If you have any foot or ankle pain from wearing high heels, a change of shoe may not be enough to relieve the situation. A visit with board-certified podiatrist Dr. Alexopoulos at our Chicago office can pinpoint the reason for your foot pain. After a careful examination, we will recommend treatment for any problems found. You can contact us through the website for an appointment or call us at 773-561-8100. Pamper yourself by wearing trendy high heels – but don’t forget to pamper your feet too if you have any pain or discomfort.