Monday, October 24, 2016

Problems With Wearing High Heels

Oct. 24, 2016

Dear Cathy:

I am in my 20s and absolutely love how my feet look in high heels. I can’t stop wearing them so what can I do to alleviate the pain and pressure of wearing high heels? High Heels, Ohio

Dear High Heels:

Every woman wants to have pretty feet when they take off their shoes at the end of the day. Some women rather have pretty shoes which can make their feet look really attractive -- but you can’t have both. Women who wear high heel shoes on a daily basis will have uglier feet than women who wear sensible shoes.

Not only do elevated heels make women vulnerable to an attack or a fall, but also to osteoporosis, prolapsed organs, tilted uteri, foot, knee, hip, back, neck and pelvic floor pain and dysfunction. And there’s nothing sexy about wearing adult diapers.

If you're wearing high heels on a daily basis, it's likely you've already experienced two more common problems such as corns and calluses. These thickened layers of dead skin usually occur on the toes or sides of the foot and are actually the body's way of defending your feet against assault.

Many develope corns and callus, or even ingrown toe nails. Other times it can be the result of a "hammertoe" -- a condition that causes the bone of the affected toe to curl under, leaving the top to rub against the shoe and you might have to have surgery to correct this.

As you age, you lose some of the fatty deposits that normally protect the ball of the foot and some of it also slides forward towards the toes. When we slip our feet into those strappy stiletto sandals and step down, our weight is thrown on the spot where we have less protection.

If you've worn primarily high heels for most of your life, you may experience shrinkage of the Achilles tendon, the area that runs from the back of the heel to the calf. This can result in pain when wearing a low-heel shoe or even the inability to walk barefoot.

The antidote here is stretching exercises like runners do. In rare instances, you may need surgery to lengthen the Achilles tendon. If you’re still going to wear heels take these steps and protect your feet:

1. Get the best-fitting high heel possible. High heels that don't fit properly cause the front of the foot to fly forward, creating more pressure and pain on toes. Look for narrow heels with a snug but not tight fit to correct the problem.

2. Cushion, cushion, cushion. While a full-shoe insert can help, if you have pain in the ball of the foot or you'll be standing in your heels a long time,
 invest in silicone metatarsal pads. They do a super job of shock absorption. 

3. Wear a thicker heel for stability. "A thicker heel will give you better balance and may help relieve some pressure by distributing the weight on your foot more evenly. Alternating heel heights can also help reduce problems with the Achilles tendon.

4. Pay attention to the "slope" or "pitch" of the heel. While some 4-inch heels will give you a straight drop down to the flatbed portion of the shoe, others will be a more gradual slope. This may be easier on the arch and might help relieve some pain in the ball of the foot.

5. Wear open-toe high heels to relieve pressure on corns and calluses. See a podiatrist to have corns and calluses professionally removed and correct the problem that’s causing them. But if that's not possible, opt for open-toe shoes to take pressure off inflamed areas.

Check out these 4 exercises that makes it easier to walk in heels.

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