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These boots are made for walking… the long-term effects of high heels

14 November 2018

I’m sure all of us can agree that most pairs of high heels are uncomfortable. Even your most trusted pair will cause some aches and pains after a couple of hours. Even the comfiest of heels can lead to some serious problems with your feet.

 Wearing high heels may be aesthetically pleasing, but continual wear leads to many problems in the feet such as ingrown toe nails, hammertoe and bunions which aren’t so aesthetically pleasing!

Overuse of muscles can lead to injury and your feet are no different. Repeatedly wearing high heels can cause strain to your ankle and other tendons surrounding the foot, which could lead to tendonitis. Feet are elevated when placed in high heels, meaning the weight of your body goes forward and pressure gets taken off the Achilles tendon, resulting in the tendon shortening over time. This then results in painful feet and ankles even when you’re not wearing heels as your tendon will be tight and stretched out.  Another unpleasant problem caused by high heels is pinched nerves, the most common being Morton’s neuroma. This occurs when a nerve in the foot becomes irritated and thickened, causing severe pain.

Regularly wearing high heels can cause various other parts of the body to suffer too, not just your feet. Firstly your knees, wearing high heels cause the knees to stay bent all the time, sometimes slightly inward. This limited the natural motion of the foot during walking and causes increased stress on the knees, which can result in osteoarthritis.

So… you love wearing heels and now you’re unsure what to do? We have some tips for you…

  • Ensure you massage and stretch your legs at the end of the day, this reduces the tightness of your calf muscle and Achilles tendon.
  • Choose wedges over a thinner heel. Your body weight is then distributed over a larger surface area, giving you much more stability as well as relieving the pressure on your joints.
  • If you have a commute ahead of you, wear a pair of shoes with arch support, shock absorption and a thick sole. Change into your high heels once you arrive at your destination, this prevents long-term stress on your feet and the rest of your body.
  • Found yourself sat in the office?? Swap your high heels for some flats to give your feet a much needed rest.

You may believe it’s a little too late and the effects of wearing high heels have really taken their toll. If this is the case we have a great team of foot and ankle specialists here at Spire Harpenden Hospital to help get you back to full health, including Mr David Gordon.

Mr Gordon states: It’s not just heels that make bunions a problem, often they just occur or they run in families.  Either way, there are solutions. Firstly, stop wearing heels! It’s unfortunate but it will help. A lower heel and wider, softer shoe will take the pressure off the side of the foot. If after trying alternative, more accommodating footwear, regular pain or discomfort continues, then it might be time to consider surgery.  I perform a minimally invasive key hole bunion correction, which has excellent results and a quick recovery.  Following my assessment in clinic and x-rays, a further consultation is performed where we discuss the options, surgery and recovery.  Once your feet have been corrected and the bunion removed – you can wear heels again!

To book a specialist consultant today please call: 01582 714 420 and our friendly team can help get you booked in.

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