The long hot Houston summer is well under way, and with its arrival, sweaters, long pants and jackets have all been sent to the back of our closets. While you’re switching up your wardrobe for the season, why not give your feet a break too, suggests Houston podiatrist Dr. Andrew Schneider. If you alter your high-heel wearing routine over the next few months, you may save yourself from years of foot pain.
Most women joke about the pain they feel after a long day or night wearing their heels, but few realize just how much damage their shoe habit may be causing. Earlier this year, Sarah Jessica Parker, the virtual spokesperson for high heels, revealed that her Manolo-habit had caused her to develop bone spurs and bunions.
Besides these two nasty problems, high heels can also cause: neuromas, characterized by pain in the ball of your foot; plantar fasciitis, which manifests as sharp heel pain; hammertoes, or an unnatural curling of the toes; pump bumps, or a swelling of the bone on the back of the foot; and bunions, which, although genetic, can be made worse by continuous high heel wearing.
If you’re wondering why those heels are so bad for you, just think about the physics of it—when you walk in high heels, up to 80 percent of your body weight has to be supported by the front of the foot. That puts a lot of added pressure on the bones of your feet, causing all the problems discussed above.
Additionally, constantly wearing high heels can make it incredibly uncomfortable to wear any other kind of shoe, because the heels can shorten your calf muscles, causing the Achilles tendon to thicken and stiffen. If you wear heels frequently enough, the calf muscle fibers may permanently shrink, making it too painful for them to stretch out in order to walk on flat feet.
So what’s a high heel lover to do? Give your feet a bit of a break this summer and follow these simple suggestions to avoid permanent foot damage:
- Keep your high heel wearing down to two times a week. If you do have to wear heels daily for work, choose supportive shoes for your commute then change into heels at your desk.
- Choose shoes that have heels lower than two inches.
- Steer clear of stilettos; a wider heel will offer you more support.
- Look for shoes with extra cushioning in the ball of the foot and/or with rubber soles. If you can’t find a shoe that comes with these pads, a simple shoe insert can give you the padding you need.
Hopefully, following these suggestions will keep you walking comfortably in all the shoes in your closet. If, however, you find your high-heel pain does not resolve even after you take off your shoes, schedule an appointment at Tanglewood Foot Specialists today to improve your quality of life.