High Heels Can Really Hurt!
Those fancy patent leather Christian Louboutin high heels that you just purchased may make you feel like a fashion runway model, but ouch! They sure do a real number on your feet when it comes to the pain you most likely experience when you’re walking down the street or hitting the dance floor with your significant other.
Are they worth the fancy price tag and all the pain you feel after you put them on? Well, let’s just take a look at how those expensive high heels – as well as any ordinary- priced pair of high heels you might be putting on your feet – might be contributing to your foot pain
High Heels are not Designed to be Supportive
Ok, so those fancy patent leather high heels sure do look pretty, but let’s face it. They’re not designed to be the most supportive piece of footwear in the marketplace.
In fact, high heels are designed to point the toe in a downward position, and it’s precisely this position that gives your leg a nice, attractive slender look. However, at the same time, this particular position places an excessive amount of pressure on the ball of your foot. Furthermore, your toes must pull up to meet the ground, and this moves the padding out from under the ball of the foot and adds to the pressure placed on the metatarsal bones. The pain created at the ball of the foot is called metatarsalgia, and the higher the heel of the shoe you’re wearing, the worse the metatarsalgia. And the strain on your bones over time can be so great that they break causing a stress fracture.
Heel pain, on the other hand, is less commonly associated with high heels when compared to metatarsalgia or pain at the ball of the foot. Most of the time, women who wear high heels don’t complain of heel pain while wearing high heels, but may complain, if they’ve been wearing them for a long period of time. In order to avoid heel pain from wearing high heels, consider wearing them only for a limited amount of time, and not every day; the more time you spend in high heels, the more likely your calf muscles will become contracted and hurt.
Tips for Avoiding Metarsalgia (Ball of the Foot) Pain and Stress Fractures
There are steps you can take to avoid metasalgia – pain at the ball of your feet – and consequently stress fractures when donning a pair of high heels. These steps include the following:
- Consider wearing a lower heel height. The higher the heel of your shoe, the more pressure you place on the ball of your foot.
- Consider a wider toe box. The more pointed the toe of the shoe, the more crowded your toes will become. As a result, the more pressure you’ll place on the ball of your feet.
- Consider wearing high heels only for a limited period of time. The more time you spend in high heels, the more pressure you place on the bones of your feet and the more likely you’ll experience a stress fracture.
Sprains and Fractures
You can also suffer a sprain or fracture of your foot when wearing high heels because high heels – as opposed to lower-heeled shoes - can more easily twist your foot or ankle when you’re wearing them. The higher the heel you’re wearing, the more your body weight is pushed forward, which will cause you to them lean backward, and thus, a greater amount of your lower leg muscle power is needed to maintain your balance. As a result, the higher the heel you’re wearing, the more unstable the situation, and the more likely you are to suffer a sprain or a fracture of your foot.
To improve your stability when wearing high heels, you can do the following:
- Strengthen your lower leg muscles to improve your balance.
- Practice walking in high heels; some shoes require more balance.
- Be cautious when in crowded conditions, when drinking alcohol, and when fatigued.