High heels. They can create a sense of regal empowerment and give you confidence when strutting around the workplace or night out on town, but they can also be the source of terrible foot pain and deformity. If you are someone who wears heels all day every day, you may unfortunately start to develop these foot conditions:
- Pump Bump – A “pump bump” is a boney protrusion in the back of your heel which can get irritated by stiff material rubbing on the bone. This can lead to inflammation, swelling and significant pain.
- Ankle Sprains – Wearing high heels, especially stilettos, can cause instability throughout your foot as they concentrate your weight over the narrow heel. The ligaments on the outside of the ankle are naturally more susceptible to injury, and wearing heels further increases the risk of tearing or rupture.
- Neuroma – Pointed or narrow high heels tend to squish all your toes, compressing the metatarsal joints together. Your feet has many nerve bundles, some of which are bigger than others. As you wear narrow heels, the bigger nerves can get pinched between the bones causing a tingling sensation or numbness in the toes.
- Bunions – A bunion appears as a bump or bone protruding outward on the side of the big toe. It is often a genetic deformity, but can become worsened by wearing poor fitting shoes or high heels. Years of wearing high heels causes increased pressure at the big toe joint forcing it to move towards, or cross the second toe. A painful and red bump can signify inflammation or arthritis in the joint as well.
- Blisters – Increased pressure and frictional stresses from high heeled shoes can cause a painful sack of clear fluid, pus or blood to form. Wearing tight or smaller sized shoes can lead to blistering. Its important to keep larger blisters intact until they dry out, as puncturing them can lead to infection.
- Calluses/Corns – Hard or thick skin will develop in areas of high pressure and force. The abnormal position of the foot when wearing high heels causes calluses or painful corns to form on the ball of feet, big toe, or anywhere material excessively rubs on the skin.
- Toe Deformities – When you wear high heels your foot structure becomes unstable and your toes will start to grasp for stability or compensate for the lack of balance. Overtime your toes may become clawed or hammered in appearance and a rigid deformity can form if not treated early on.
As women, it is often inevitable that we have to wear some sort of heeled shoe at some points in life. If you are planning on wearing high heeled footwear, I recommend sticking to a height of two inches or less. Opt for a thicker heel for better weight distribution over the heel and wider toe box for more room. TIP: Plan to wear these shoes for short periods of time, like a few hours rather than the whole day!
If you experience any of the above conditions or are curious about treatment options, please contact us at Feet In Motion, we’d be happy to help!