An Inch-by-Inch Guide to High Heel Pain


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Numbers don't lie: the higher your heel, the more pressure you put on your foot!By now, you must surely know that wearing high heels causes damage to your feet, at least over time (wearing a pair of stilettos to one wedding is unlikely to do you any lasting harm aside from giving you a blister or two plus some temporary foot pain.)

Much of the reason high heels cause problems for your feet is due to the imbalance they create, placing abnormal amounts of pressure on the front of your feet (potentially leading to bunions) pinching your toes and causing them to grip to maintain balance (possibly resulting in a hammertoe problem); and all while shortening your Achilles tendon, paving the way for tendinitis problems.

Since pressure is one of the main culprits when it comes to damage caused by wearing heels, it’s important to understand that the higher the shoe, the more pressure you’re putting on your fore-foot. 

For example, when you wear 1-inch heels, 22% of your body’s pressure lands on the front of your foot

Go up an inch: that percentage shoots up to 57%. And by the time you get to a 3-inch stiletto, 76% of your body weight pressure is being absorbed by your fore-foot…ouch!

The numbers make my advice all the more clear, if you MUST wear heels, do so infrequently and keep the heel height beneath 2 inches whenever possible. Anything higher than that is, quite simply, too much of a load for your fore feet to bear.
Dr. Andrew Schneider
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Dr. Andrew Schneider is a podiatrist and foot surgeon at Tanglewood Foot Specialists in Houston, TX.