High Heels Proven to Wreak Havoc on Women’s Feet

The cover story in the November 2009 issue of Lower Extremity Review, entitled “Balancing Act: A real-world approach to high heels” highlights numerous professional perspectives on finding a balance between women’s desire to be fashionable and the need to maintain healthy feet.

While frequent high heel wear seems harmless to women in their twenties and thirties, continued abuse often compounds itself over time. What often begins as a few unsightly, toe-cringing blisters leads to more serious trauma down the road. Excessive high heel wear all-too-often leads to neuromas, hammer & claw toes, bunions, bone spurs and even stress fractures of the foot. All this for the sake of glamour? Unfortunately so!

There’s no denying a woman’s natural attraction to high heels. Available in virtually any color and style, heels can run up to around five inches in height. Many podiatrists and pedorthists recommend sticking to heels at around 2 inches in length to reduce the amount of force transferred from the ground to the foot. And whenever possible, stick to more comfortable shoes to commute to and from work. A little prevention will go a long way to saving those feet!

Since women are unlikely to part ways with their love for heels, consider a few options for saving those feet:

  1. Have tight-fitting footwear stretched at a local shoe store to give your toes a little extra wiggle room. The tighter the toes are pushed together, the greater the skin & bone stress compounding with each step.
  2. Address hot spots, blisters, calluses and corns immediately by using a low-friction interface such as ENGO® Blister Patches (www.goengo.com) to relieve skin trauma caused by friction in high heels.
  3. Whenever possible, wear comfortable sneakers or flats to allow your feet some time to relax & breathe.
  4. Consider adding orthotics to your high heels to provide better biomechanical support. Foot Petals sells a line of foot orthotics made for women’s footwear (www.footpetals.com).

Don’t wait for painful foot issues to stop you in your tracks. Consult your primary care doctor, a podiatrist or pedorthist about resolving simple foot problems before surgery becomes the only option. Think prevention!

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