High heels are a staple of most women’s wardrobes. Many women wear high heels 40 hours a week or more. Some women, especially in urban areas, walk miles in their high heeled shoes. Unfortunately, wearing high heels can pose real risks to feet.
For women who are prone to developing bunions, wearing high heels can significantly increase their chances of developing them. Bunions are lumps that form at the base of the big toe. Wearing tight fitting shoes that force the toes out of their natural alignment should be avoided by people who have a history of bunions.
Pinched nerves and numb toes are common problems caused by the increased pressure on the ball of the feet due to the extreme angle that heels require. These are issues that will eventually resolve themselves, but massage can speed up recovery by increasing circulation in the toes.
Hammertoes are not only unattractive, but are a serious physical condition that can require surgical intervention if the case is severe enough. Wearing ill fitting shoes, specifically heels with a narrow toe box, cause the second and third toes to rest in a flexed position for prolonged periods of time. Eventually, the muscles of these toes will begin to shorten.
Women who notice that they are starting to develop a hammertoe should see a doctor and discuss treatment options. If the toes are rigid and fixed, it is probably gone beyond the point where non-surgical treatments will be beneficial, so early detection is critical.
Metatarsalgia, an imflamation of the ball of the foot, is another common issue long time heel wearers encounter. Wearing cushioned insoles and arch supports can help minimize the chances of developing this condition.
Wearing heels is bad news for the Achilles’ tendon. The muscles in the calf shorten and flex which gives legs a slim, toned appearance. Unfortunately, after prolonged periods in heels, the tendon may shorten to the point that wearing flat shoes causes discomfort or might even be impossible.
To avoid permanently shortening the Achilles’ tendon, women should alternate heels with flat shoes on a regular basis. Taking breaks throughout the day to stretch the calf muscles can also reduce the chances of suffering from this condition.
Wearing heels also effects other parts of the body besides the feet. Knee and back issues are more common in women who wear high heels frequently.
To minimize the damage of wearing heels regularly, women should look for shoes that give their toes plenty of space to rest in a position as close to their natural alignment as possible. Taking frequents breaks to rest and stretch their feet is another important consideration. Opting for lower heels will lessen the pressure on the balls of their feet and decrease some of the dangers inherent with heels.
Wearing high heels puts women at risk for a host of medical issues. It is vital to the health of their feet to avoid wearing heels whenever possible. Although some aches are to be expected after spending a day in heels, ignoring foot pain can allow treatable conditions to worsen to the point of doing permanent damage.