Statistics show that one of the major factors leading to foot problems is wearing high heels. A third of the women suffer from permanent problems due to prolonged wear of high heels. High heels are fashionable, make you feel sexier and taller, but impaired stability increases the risk of forefoot injury, toe injury, heel pain, foot arch strain, sprained ankles, plantar fasciitis, posture, and gait problems. In addition, there is excess stress placed on the lower extremities and back and affects the balance, posture, and gait.
That perfect high heel shoe might create permanent health problems. If worn frequently, you are in for long-term issues such as the bending of your toes in an unnatural position and cause a range of ailments, ingrown toenails, damage to the leg tendons, nerve damage, and bunions. High heels cause the overworking of the leg muscles and this can lead to muscle injuries, osteoarthritis, and plantar fasciitis.
Wearing high heels can shorten the muscles of the calves that can lead to muscle spasms and pain. The Achilles tendon shortens when the heel is pointed upward and tightens up. The tendon is flexible so that the foot can lie flat or pointed. Any time the natural shape of the foot is restricted, you experience foot pain; repetitive wear allows the developed unhealthy foot patterns.
How to Prevent Damage
Choose sensible heels that are an inch and half or less with a wide heel. A slightly wider heel will spread the bodyweight load more evenly. A heel higher than three inches shortens the Achilles tendon.
Choose shoes made of natural materials such as leather because they conform to the foot and stretch throughout the day as your feet change in size and the feet are allowed to breathe.
To reduce the impact on your knees, wear shoes with soft insoles; if they do not have soft insoles, add inserts to distribute the weight evenly.
Your shoes should be the right size so that the foot does not slide forward.
The toe box should be wide enough that will allow the toes to wiggle. Though, it is better to wear open-toe high heels that will relieve the pressure on calluses, corns, and inflamed areas.
Wear heels when you know you will require limited standing or walking.
Choose a shoe with a rubber grip that prevents you from slipping while walking. It will prevent foot injuries from slipping and falling.
You need to alternate your shoes throughout the day from or one day to another. When commuting, wear athletic shoes or walking shoes, sometimes wear shoes that will allow the feet, hips, back, and legs to stretch and the body to move freely.
Take time to stretch your calf muscles and feet daily. Stand on the edge of a step with the shoes off with your weight on the balls of your feet, extend the heels off the edge, and drop the heels down. Put a pencil and try to pick it up with the toes.
Consider the pitch or slope of the heel. Some heels give you a straight drop down to the flatbed of the shoe, but you need to find one with a gradual slope, it will be easy on the arch. It also relieves the pain in the ball of the foot.
If you have questions about preventing foot damage from high heels, you should reach out to a foot specialist for his /her expert advice. Feel free to contact our office to make an appointment with our podiatrist. Our foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Ejodamen Shobowale (fondly called Dr. Sho) can provide you with the care you need to get you up and running on your feet in no time.