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What Kind of Damage Does Long-Term Wearing of High Heels Do?


Many women wear shoes with high heels on a daily basis. Some of these wear the high heels to work and others with their casual dress for the day or to complete their attire for an evening on the town of dining and dancing. Whatever the occasion to dawn a set of pumps, there are numerous problems that can develop from wearing this type of shoe over a long-term period of time.

The damage sometimes can be only minor especially with only wearing them occasionally but with regular and daily use the high heels can cause severe problems especially as a person ages. High heeled shoes with toe boxes that are narrow and those with extremely higher heels tend to cause the most damage to the feet.

Certain Damages

Many of the individuals who wear heels suffer from an array of issues with the feet. Many are simply mild and others may be more severe in nature. The most common and generally mild problem is that the feet often get blisters from the rubbing of the shoe. The toes become pushed together and squeezed and soon a blister or several blisters appear on one or both feet. Some find this only happens when the shoes are new and that applying an adhesive bandage to the heel will help in prevention of this problem until the high heels are broken in with some wear. Other problems that may occur are:

• Pain causing corns may form as a result of friction inside the shoe with the foot constantly being rubbed and enduring pressure.

• Formation of thick calluses on the feet.

• Bunions may develop.

• Deformities such as hammertoes where the toes of the foot become bent like a claw due to being repeatedly cramped in the toe box of the shoe over a period of time.

• Development of fungal infections to the toenails to the moist environment that is produced from the feet sweating in the high heels.

Yellow toenails from a potential toenail fungus.

These are only some of the problems that can develop with the long-term wearing of high heels. The Achilles tendon may become shorter when the feet remain in an elevated position over long periods of time each day. When this happens, individuals find it uncomfortable and sometimes impossible to wear shoes that are flat.

However, if a person is finding that they are experiencing this problem they can try gradually lowering the heel height of the shoes that are being worn. This will help to eliminate this problem as well as lessen the amount of discomfort to the foot. Walking barefoot as much as possible will also help address the issue.

More Serious Issues

Given time, more serious issues often develop with extended high heel use. Many of these conditions will require that an individual seek some sort of medical attention from their doctor or from a podiatrist or foot doctor. Most family physicians will refer a person to a podiatrist when their chief complaint has something to do with the feet or ankles. Following are some of the more serious issues that may need to be addressed:

• Often a stress fracture which is a crack or break of the bone will occur and commonly happens as a person ages. • The slightest wrong turn of the foot may cause a broken ankle or foot as well as a twisted or sprained ankle.
• The back of the heel may enlarge and protrude outward suffering from redness and swelling. This is often called a Pump Bump.
• Not only in the ankle joint but in the toe joints and the balls of the feet, pain may develop that ranges in severity from mild to severe.
• Long-term wear of high heels and wearing heels that are much too high may cause alignment of the posture to be poor and back pain and problems often develop.

Most podiatrists do recommend that high heeled shoes should only be worn occasionally and even to only wear them when a person absolutely must do so. However, if high heels must be worn by an individual on a regular basis they should choose only those that fit extremely well and cautiously select heels that have a roomy toe box for added protection and prevention as well as comfort.
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