You see them everywhere: on models, business women, party-goers, ballroom dancers, and the average woman who just wants to dress up. These are, of course, high heels. Women worldwide enjoy—or disparage—these classic shoes. Whether you love or hate them, though, one thing about them is undeniable: high heel pain. Wearing pumps can lead to a variety of high heel issues that can create chronic foot complications over time.
The Truth about High Heels and Your Feet
High heels have been around in some form or another for centuries. They never go out of style, though they can range in popularity. For many business women, they are the office shoe of choice, and spend hours at a time wearing them day in and day out. This, however, can create quite a lot of high heel pain. Issues from pumps are one of the leading causes of foot pain in women.
Because of the shoe’s structure, the heels alter your foot functions, your walking biomechanics, and even your overall posture. The raised back forces the majority of your body weight and pressure onto the ball of your foot, decreasing your ability to absorb shock and pressure efficiently. The uneven weight distribution strains the forefoot and arch. Forcing your weight forward can squish your toes against the inside of your shoes, too, creating problems with your digits. The weight shift also forces your back to tilt backward slightly to compensate.
All of this leads to a wide variety of painful and damaging problems. The excessive forefoot pressure can create metatarsalgia, sesamoiditis, capsulitis, and even neuroma pain. Squeezing your toes can contribute to digital deformities like hammertoe and damage your nails. The changed biomechanics may exacerbate a bunion, and the poor arch support and shock absorption may lead to heel pain from plantar fasciitis. The pressure on the back of the heel bone can contribute to a pump bump. Constantly keeping your heel in the air stresses the Achilles tendon, too, and may shorten and tighten it. All of this can mean regular aches and pains that may have long-term consequences.
Helping Out Your Hurting Heels
In many cases, you might not have to give up wearing high heels entirely to restore your feet to comfort. You will, however, need to make some adjustments to keep your feet comfortable. Dr. Noah Levine can examine your high heel issues and help you determine what conservative treatment will work best for your discomfort.
You may need to change the types of heels you wear. Avoid those sky-high stilettoes and stick with a low, wide-based pump. This reduces the pressure on your forefoot and offers more stability. Make sure the shoe fits correctly, too. Narrow and pointed heels pinch the toes and cause problems. Instead, choose rounded toe boxes and make sure your foot doesn’t slide forward too much.
Wear padded insoles to help cushion your forefoot. If the back of the shoe pinches, try padding that spot, too. Stretch your feet periodically, particularly focusing on your Achilles tendon. Try to avoid spending an extended period of time walking or standing when you wear pumps. Instead, bring comfortable shoes and switch between the two if you’ll be on your feet too much. If you’re struggling with consistent high heel pain, you may need to take a break from the fashionable shoes and stick to more supportive styles until your feet recover.
Don’t wait until you’re suffering with high heel issues to seek help for your hurting lower limbs. If you take care of your feet before that happens, you’ll be more comfortable and less likely to develop chronic foot and ankle issues. Let Las Vegas’ Absolute Foot Care Specialists help. Make an appointment at one of our three locations by calling (702) 839-2010 or by using the web request form.