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Many women adore their high-heeled Jimmy Choos or Manolos, but wearing high fashion heels could be hazardous to your health. If you know when to don your fashionable footwear and how often, you could save yourself from corns, hammertoes, arthritis, chronic knee pain and even back problems. Learn how to prevent foot problems, how to save your health and still look fashionable doing so.
When a shoe causing blisters or soreness is ignored, you can get corns. These are again one of the common and minor problems caused by wearing high heels. A narrow toe box in a shoe, and the feet being pushed forward into the toe box, as well as friction between the foot and shoe may result in painful corns. The feet may also become thickly callused.
Narrow toe boxes and the foot slanting downward are frequently the reason for problems caused by wearing high heels. When the foot is jammed into the shoe, you can experience not only blisters and corns, but also hammertoes, bunions, and toenail fungus problems. Other problems caused by wearing high heels can affect the structure of the foot, and the rest of the body.
Keeping the feet in a lifted position for many hours of the day sometimes creates a shortened Achilles tendon. This shortening may make wearing flatter shoes less comfortable or almost impossible. If you find discomfort in wearing flatter shoes, you might end some of the problems caused by wearing high heels by periodically lowering of the height of the shoe. This can mean you gradually address the issue, without causing great discomfort to the foot, and you get a new pair of shoes each month. It can also help to walk barefoot at home.
Other problems caused by wearing high heels include:
Stress fractures- cracks or breaks in the bones, more common as we age.
Twisted/sprained/broken ankles—from turning a foot while wearing a high-heeled shoe.
Pump Bump—enlargement of the back of the heel making it stick out and be red or swollen.
Joint pain—especially in the toes and on the balls of the feet, the joint can become chronically irritated and is worsened when heels are worn all the time.
Neuroma- tissue growth under the toes that results in extreme pain.
Back problems— may be related to wearing high heels and having poor postural alignment.
With the problems caused by wearing high heels, it’s a good idea to choose them for occasional wear, or to only wear them when you must, as in a ballroom environment. Still, occasional use, or even daily use is not likely to cause many problems if you use the shoes only for work or play, and then switch to a more comfortable and supportive shoe for the rest of the day. Problems can also be reduced by purchasing shoes that fit properly, and have adequate room in the toe box.
Only get what you are comfortable with. If you can pull off a 3” heel and it is comfortable to you, then go for it.
Take a look at your lifestyle. Determine if you can alter it a bit.
If you have that much wanted high arched foot (should’ve taken those ballet classes) then you are in for a surprise because many times higher arched feet find more comfort in high heels.
Plan ahead: if you know you are going to be walking all over town, bring a spare comfortable pair to get you through it.
Both shoe styles have their pros and cons, but if you take a good look at how you can prevent serious health issues, then you are on your way to creating a comfortable lifestyle. And, remember it doesn’t take high or low heels to be fashionable; it’s the whole package. The most important aspect of style is dressing for you. Remember, family first, health and then fashion.
Illustration from Clyde Mendes column at Salsa TV, Singapore