Hi, my name is Dr. John Fritz, and today we're going to talk to you a little about some common injuries as a result of high heels and how to prevent them.
High heels cause all kinds of damage to the nails and skin in your forefoot. The pressure being placed on the toes and the ball of your foot is tremendous in a high heel. This commonly results in ingrown toenails from the nails pushing up against the tip of the toe, corns, and calluses from shoe irritation. Black toenails are frequent secondary to pressure on the nail bed, as are fungal toenails.
Some other more acute injuries are ankle sprains, stress fractures as result of the abnormal stress being placed on your foot and on your ankle. Shooting pain in the forefoot is also a common condition due to an inflamed nerve, and it's very common with pointed shoes.
Heel pain, either on the bottom as a result of plantar fasciitis, in the back as a result of Achilles tendonitis, or the more common pump bump, all can occur in high heels.
So what do you do? Try to choose a shoe that has a lower heel height. Under two inches would be ideal. Try to choose a shoe that has a rounded or a square toe box so that your toes aren't as constricted. The depth of the toe box is also important.
Usually, at this point in my conversation, all my women patients roll their eyes and just tell me that this isn't practical. So if you're going to wear a high heel, try to limit the amount of time that you're actually in the heel. Protect your toes. Cut your toenails more frequently so that they don't rub up against the tip of your shoe. Protect your lesser toes from irritation with silicone toe pads, which are my favorite. And above all, stretch and exercise. Stretching your Achilles tendon can prevent a lot of pain in the heel and actually can help lessen the effects that the high heels are having on your body.
Another type of shoe you can utilize to give the appearance of a high heel would be a platform shoe, where you actually have some height in the front of the shoe so that the incline of the shoe is less. This produces less stress on the toes and in the ball of the foot.