High heeled shoes are often considered the mark of a professional woman. They’re worn with pants and dresses. They’re worn for work, dates and formal occasions. They are incredibly bad for the body.
Many women shove this aside, considering it a necessary evil. There is a problem with this idea. When you are older, the damage done could become life threatening. How do I know? This information came out of a geriatric intake study for our elder.
For years she has been complaining about how sore her toes are. We suspected her shoe choices had much to do with the pain, but she wouldn’t listen. Instead, she’d pad them with Kleenex and limp bravely on. That has got to stop.
Aside from the bunions on both feet, she has severe hammertoes. On a younger person this might be resolved with surgery, but at 89 that’s not an option. When the doctor examined her feet, she pointed out that there was a red spot on one toe that was almost to the point of being an open wound.
Why would that be a problem? We all get blisters sometimes. The answer is, in part, that she’s 89. If that wound opens the doctor frankly told us that it would never heal. That is enough to scare anyone with any knowledge of eldercare. There is a chance that something as simple as an open wound caused by hammertoes to become life threatening.
There are solutions. Our elder isn’t going to like them, but they will have to happen. First, she needs to change the type of shoe she wears. She has to wear open toed shoes that will keep pressure off the toes. No heels. No pointy toes. Plain, flat, sandals…preferably sandals that Velcro a couple of inches away from the toes.
The second are pads. The pads were designed for corns, but they do an excellent job in this case. They encircle the toes and are made of the same material Ace bandages are made of. They can be washed, but because they are likely to be tossed we’ve left a supply with the med tech. She’s not really fond of these either, but sees the necessity.
You may want to know why something as simple as an open wound on a toe could pose a threat to her life. It has to do with circulation. She has very poor circulation to her feet. This means the wound has little chance to heal…but a big chance of infection. If it’s not caught in time or doesn’t respond to treatment, gangrene could set in. As her mother died from complications of an amputation, this isn’t a good thing.
The time to think about your shoe choice and your foot care is before they become a problem. Hammertoes are not the price you have to pay to be a successful woman. There are perfectly good professional looking shoes that can prevent the problems I have described in this article. If you have foot pain, ask for a referral to a podiatrist and get it treated now…and then follow the doctor’s instructions when it comes to shoe type. It could save a lot of grief later in life.