We all have our favourite heels that come out for special occasions, but, for those of us who wear them all the time, take note: high heels can damage your feet and cause a whole load of problems as the years move on.
Not just foot pain, problems range from the more common concerns such as bunions, corns and calluses to more complex issues like misshapen hammertoes or excruciating pain in the ball of the foot, which seems to get worse every time the shoes are worn.
Will women stop wearing their vertiginous favourites? Not likely, judging by a survey conducted by the American Podiatric Medical Association, which showed some 42% of women admitted they’d wear a shoe they liked even if it gave them discomfort; 73% admitted already having a shoe-related foot issue.
Shoes that constrict the natural foot shape are bound to cause pain and, at the same time, excess weight is placed on these parts of the foot. So crushing the foot along with extra weight can cause extreme discomfort.
Bunions – described as an enlargement of bone or tissue around the joint at the head of the big toe. Footwear is not the only cause of a bunion. Genetics do play a significant role, and people who have bunions in the family are also much more likely to have bunion than people who do not. Injuries to the foot can also be a factor in developing a bunion. However, there is no doubt that high heels aggravate this condition, and in many cases cause the misshapen toes. Introducing lower heels into your wardrobe can stop the problem getting worse, but surgery to correct the bunion is often required.
Corns and Calluses – build up of layers of dead skin, usually on the toes, soles or sides of the foot (the body’s way of building natural protection against trauma) as a result of ill fitting shoes. Before treating your own feet with home remedies, please consult a Podiatrist as you could cause damage by if you remove too much hard skin yourself.
1. Get a proper fit – avoid styles that leave too much room at the toes, allowing the foot to move forward, putting increased pressure on the toes
2. Cushion! Invest in gels pads to protect the ball of the foot. We lose fat on the ball of our feet as we age so replacing this with a cushion can help
3. Thicker heels give improved balance and distribute weight through the foot instead of isolated pressure points
4. A gradual drop from heel to toe can be easier to wear than those with a straight drop
5. Open toed high heels can avoid excess pressure on toes and corns
6. Take a rest from heels as much as you can, to allow toes to spread in a more natural fashion and to stop the calf muscles tightening
The Queen of Heels has just admitted to the damage her Blahniks have wrecked on her feet and it also looks as if Victoria Beckham has had her notorious bunions repaired. Ultimately, enjoy your footwear, but do take notice of what your feet are telling you – if they hurt they’re sending you a message!
Sarah Jessica Parker: “I went to a foot doctor and he said, ‘Your foot does things it shouldn’t be able to do. That bone there…You’ve created that bone. It doesn’t belong there.'”