High Heels and Your Health

High heels date back to the early 1600’s when raised heels were used by horse riders to prevent their foot from slipping forward while riding. Today’s use of high heels to make legs appear longer and to slim the figure comes at a cost. These shoes can change how your leg and foot function while walking. If you routinely wear high heels and do not have any pain, you are lucky. Those that continue to push through the pain should take a closer look.

The most common problem experienced is rubbing and blisters from ill-fitting heels. High heels also place the foot in an abnormal angle increasing the chance of broken bones and changes to normal bone alignment. If you feel pain across the top of your foot and inside of your big toe you might be developing a bunion. This abnormal, boney bump forms on the joint at the base of the big toe. This is also a sign that the big toe is moving toward the other four toes and your foot’s boney shape is changing.

Studies have also shown that women who wear high heels five times a week for two or more years have changes to their muscles and tendons. The calf muscle that is found in the back of the lower leg and helps the foot move down was found to be 13% shorter than those of women who wore flat shoes. The Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscle to the heel, also was found to be substantially stiffer and thicker in women wearing heels.

If you cannot escape from high heels, a few simple steps will help maintain your foot structure and prevent pain. The first thing is to limit the amount of time spent in high heels. Try wearing tennis shoes while commuting or at your desk. When you are buying heels, find a pair that keeps your foot in its natural position. If you are looking for added height, try platform shoes where the entire foot is elevated. Wedge shoes are a good alternative as long as the ankle of the shoe is not too high. If you are experiencing a lot of foot pain, it is best to seek care from a podiatrist. These doctors are experts and specially trained in all aspects of the foot and ankle.

If you or someone you know is experiencing pain in their feet, the doctors at Coastal Podiatry Associates are available to help. The doctors have received extensive training in all aspects of the foot and can help you return to normal activity. To determine the best course of treatment contact any of our offices at 843-449-FOOT (3668) or visit our website at www.coastalpodiatry.com.

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