Heels are getting higher and higher. Ultra-high heels are what foot doctors call ‘shoe-icide’, and can lead to everything from ankle sprains to chronic pain and misshapen feet. So here’s your survival guide to wearing high heels.
Foot strain as a result of high heels
Your feet carry the weight of your entire body, and are responsible for good posture and mobility. Putting on a pair of high heels changes all this.
- High heels affect your balance and increase your chances of a sprained or broken ankle.
- Wearing them for long periods shifts your weight forward, and can lead to joint pain in the ball of the foot. Too much pressure can inflame delicate foot bones and nerves, and even lead to hairline fractures.
- As your centre of gravity moves forward, the hips and spine come out of alignment resulting in bad posture, which can lead to back problems.
- The higher the heels you wear the shorter, and tighter, your Achilles tendon becomes. This can create heel pain when you walk barefoot or wear flats.
- Pump bump, is a bony enlargement, also known as Haglund’s deformity, that forms behind the heel. This is can be caused by the rigid backs of shoes or straps that irritate the heel.
How to take the stress off your feet
Give your feet a rest by swapping to lower heels. This will help you to avoid problems with pressure points, bones in your feet, nerves and posture. The lower you go, the more natural your foot position will be. Experts recommend choosing heels that are no more than 2 in high, and even those should be worn for just a few hours at a time.
When to see a doctor for cosmetic foot surgery
Even when faced with persistent foot pain, some people are still reluctant to consult a doctor, but this is what they should be doing, as a cosmetic foot surgeon is best equipped to suggest what can be done about a problem and recommend treatments.
There are two key causes of foot deformity leading to pain. The first is hereditary, as bunions and arthritis tend to be, while the shoes you wear, especially high heels, can cause and exacerbate problems.
As well as physical pain and discomfort, there can be psychological damage if you feel you have to hide misshapen feet. ‘I believe women should have the freedom to wear the shoes that they want to wear. Whether you'd rather wear heels or flats, I love enabling women to make that decision, and take pain out of the equation,’ says Mr Haroon Mann, a Consultant Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgeon at Twenty-Five Harley Street day clinic.
Common foot problems that can be helped by surgery
Whether your toes would look, and feel, better shorter, longer, or straighter, it’s important to consult a qualified orthopaedic surgeon, who can advise on the best treatment for you.
- are a deformity of the big toe joint, where a painful bony growth juts out on the joint at the base of the big toe, which forces the big toe to turn in at an angle towards the other toes.
- are a painful swollen lump on the outside of your foot near the base of your little toe. You may also have a hard corn and painful bursitis in the same spot.
- Hammer Toes, also known as claw toes, are where the middle joints in the toes start to curl downwards, so the toes are bent. The smaller toes are particularly susceptible in pointy shoes. Painful corns can form on top of the toes that are pushed up, or on the tip of a toe, while extra pressure is put on the ball of your foot, which can result in calluses.