High heels are often said they cause a lot of foot-related health issues. But sometimes you already have said issues but don’t really notice until your high heels aggravate the problem. Then you think it’s because of the heels.
It is safe to say that you should limit the time you spend on and in high heels if you have some of the following health issues until you solve them. This way you will avoid the extra pain and discomfort and will heal up faster. Then you will have all the time in the world to once again enjoy your high heels.
The first health issue are the bunions. Bunions are those unsightly boney prominences on the inside of the big toe. While bunions look like bone growths (they’re not), they are actually the result of improper alignment of the big toe joint, says Dr. Neal Blitz Reconstructive Foot & Ankle Surgery specialist in a column for the Huffington Post.
Get a slim gel bunion sleeve to place over the bunion area to avoid friction. Some shoes can be spot stretched to accommodate your bunion. Toe separators and bunion splints may be useful at night to try and undo any big toe misalignment that heels cause, Blitz says. Surgery is also an option, but first you should consult with a specialist.
Hammer toes are the next common foot-related issue. A hammer toe forms when the small joints of the toes pop out of alignment and become prominent. Many women mistakenly blame the heel for causing the thickened skin (corns) on their toes, but rather the corn is byproduct of the underlying hammer toe. Blitz writes.
The solutions are gel pads which often work best and can be placed on the toes. A runway model trick is to use bandaids on the toes. Placing thin felt or moleskin on the underside of the shoe toe box can help a lot. If corns are present, be sure to keep them well trimmed and moisturized. Surgery is also an option, again, after a consultation with a specialist.
Tailors bunions (also known as bunionettes) are the smaller bunions on the outside of the foot located by the 5th toe. Tailor’s bunions are caused by an abnormally shaped bone. Pressure and friction from high heels and more so a pointy toe shoe will cause the area to become problematic.
Just like the bunions, tailor’s bunion treatment involves providing cushioning and avoiding pressure. Toe spacers and splints are not effective for these smaller bunions. When all else fails, bone shaving can be effective, Blitz notes.
Have you heard of Pump Bumps? It is the abnormal foot position from heel wearing makes the back of the heel bone prominent, and become a source of irritation against the counter of the shoe. Some people genetically have an enlarged heel bone, making the problem that much worse. Decrease heel height when you can. Pad the inside counter of the shoe with moleskin. Sometimes a band aid will go along a way at lessening friction. If the bone is enlarged, bone shaving surgery can be a solution.
Another often issue is Metatarsalgia (pain in the ball of the foot). As heel height increases so does pressure on the ball of the boot. Some people develop thick calluses on the bottom of the foot that can also be painful. Many people with bunions and hammer toes can develop metatarsalgia as well from abnormal foot biomechanics, Blitz says.
Absolutely get gel cushions for the forefoot and try to wear high heels with a platform as they tend to provide more cushion. Limit time in high heels and with active pain and swelling you may need a vacation from your high heels. If bunions and hammer toes are present, they can exacerbate metatarsalgia and steps should be taken to manage those structural issues, the doc writes.