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Family Foot & Ankle

High Heels and Your Feet

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With temperatures warming up and prom season in full swing—most schools have had theirs by now, but a few haven’t—you may be inspired to take that favorite pair of stylish high-heels out of the closet more often than usual.

While we would never tell you can’t ever put on a great pair of pumps for special occasions, high fashion comes at a high cost when talking about the health of your lower limbs—just look at the feet of almost any female celebrity. That’s why we recommend only sparing use, and encourage chunkier heels that are lower than 2”.

High heels shift all your weight forward onto forefeet and toes, putting enormous pressure on a small, sensitive area. That’s a recipe for ball of foot pain (also known as metatarsalgia) and can lead to conditions such as a Morton’s neuroma. It also can lead to Achilles pain, as the tendon is forced to spend long periods of time in a shortened, tightened posture.

Another problem: most heel styles don’t give your toes much room to wiggle and move. In fact, they usually have to bend unnaturally just to cram into the front of the shoe. The result? Anything from temporary skin problems at the pressure points, such as corns or blisters, to the development of more permanent deformities, such as bunions or hammertoes.

Even the backs of your heels aren’t safe. Hard-backed styles irritate sensitive tissues, often leading to painful, inflamed bursitis or a bony growth known as Haglund’s deformity—also known by the more descriptive name, “bump pump.”

The troubles go right on up. High heels impair balance, throw your center of weight forward, and force ankles, knees, hips, and even spine out of proper alignment. The risk of ankle injury increases, as well as your risk of chronic joint pain or osteoarthritis throughout your lower body.

Is one night on the town going to ruin your feet forever? Probably not. That said, there’s a reason women are far more likely to suffer musculoskeletal issues, injuries, and deformities in their feet and ankles than men, and it’s all about the shoes.

Concerns about the health of your feet and ankles? Call Family Foot and Ankle Center today to set up your appointment at one of our 6 Greater Cincinnati offices. You can reach us at (513) 728-4800 in Ohio, or (859) 282-1572 in Kentucky.

Dr. Cynthia Miller
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Dr. Cynthia Miller is a board certified podiatrist who has been established in the Cincinnati area since 2004.
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