Though high heel shoes are the perfect accessory for many outfits and fashions, you may not know the toll they’re taking on your body. Some research suggests that high heels are a primary reason for a host of foot pain and disorders. One study concluded that nearly half of all women wear high heels while a whopping 71% of them confess that they cause them pain.
At Next Step Orthopedics in McKinney, Texas, our board-certified foot pain specialist, Dr. Dominique Nickson, treats a wide range of health problems associated with footwear. Here he outlines some specific maladies that are caused by high heels:
A bony bump at the outside of your big toe. Also called a hallux valgus, bunions are painful deformities that are made progressively worse with high heel shoes.
Gravity forces your toes into a crowded space called a toe box. By forcing your toes together, your muscles weaken and cause the toes to bend into their telltale hammer shape permanently.
Corns are thickened areas of skin on your toes and feet that develop from repeatedly rubbing up against your shoes.
Wearing high heels can stretch or tear the ligaments in your ankle, leading to an ankle sprain.
Knee and back pain
As you work to keep your body balanced while you are wearing high heels, your knees and back take the brunt of your shifted weight. While the pain may be mild at first, prolonged wearing of ill-fitting shoes can lead to chronic pain.
Your Achilles tendon runs from your heel bone to your calf muscles. It helps you stand, walk, run, and jump. When you routinely wear high heel shoes, it can inflame the Achilles tendon and inhibit your range of motion.
A thick band of tissue spans the distance between your heel bone and your toes. When this fibrous band of tissue is irritated from high heels, you feel stabbing pain when you walk.
Medically known as a Haglund’s Deformity, a pump bump is a bony formation on your heel that’s created over time as your shoes rub up and down or press into the back of your foot.
Treating shoe-related foot problems
Treatment options for foot problems caused by high heels may include:
- Modifications to footwear
- Physical therapy
- Heel pads and lifts
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Activity modifications
In severe cases, Dr. Nickson may recommend surgery. To evaluate and treat your pain and foot problems from high heels, turn to Next Step Orthopedics. You can call us at (972) 547-0047 or book an appointment online.