High heels are certainly fashionable, but anyone who has worn heels for an extended period of time knows just how uncomfortable they can be on your feet. You may think that as long as you can handle discomfort, you’re not worse off when the night ends, but that’s simply not true, because high heels can lead to deformities and other significant foot conditions. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at some of the foot issues that can be brought on by prolonged high heel use.

Problems With Extensive High Heel Wearing

We’re not saying that you should never wear high heels, because we understand that you may need to for certain occasions. These conditions aren’t likely to occur after just one instance in a high heel. However, prolonged high heel wearing or making a heel your primary shoe of choice can put you at a heightened risk for some of the following conditions.

  1. Bunions – Perhaps the most common foot issue associated with long-term high heel wearing is the formation of a bunion. A bunion occurs when abnormal pressure on the big toe joint causes it to become unstable and shift out of place, leading to a bony prominence on the outside of your foot at the base of the big toe. Because your foot is elevated and oftentimes facing pressure along the sides because of the narrow shape of the shoe, your big toe joint endures an immense amount of stress when you’re wearing heels. Keep an eye on your big toe joint if you regularly wear heels, and consider wearing them in moderation or choosing pairs with a lower heel or a wider toe box.
  2. Achilles-Related Issues – Prolonged high heel use has been linked to a shortening of the Achilles tendon due to its position when your foot is in an elevated heel. A shortened or tight Achilles tendon can put you at a greater risk for problems like plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendonitis. Make sure you are stretching your Achilles and working to keep it strong when you’re not wearing heels.
  3. Haglund’s Deformity – Haglund’s deformity is another issue that can develop as a result of repetitive high heel use, and you may have heard of it by its more common name – the pump bump. Stress and pressure on the back of your heel where the Achilles tendon connects can lead to the formation of a bony prominence in the area. Aside from being uncomfortable and unsightly, it can make it harder to fit into your shoes, and a tight shoe will only further irritate the deformity.
  4. Hammertoes – A final issue that can also develop as a result of excess time spent in a tight high heel shoe is a hammertoe. As we’ve explained on the blog in the past, a hammertoe occurs when the soft tissues in the toes become shortened or damaged as a result of the toes not having enough space to lay flat in a shoe. Over time this forward pressure on your toes can cause these flexible hammertoes to become more rigid, making them more unlikely to respond to treatment. Treating hammertoes and switching to a more comfortable shoe at an earlier stage is very important for long-term relief, so don’t just keep shoving your feet into your heels if you notice your toes are starting to bend upwards at the joint.

High heels can be great in small doses, but be careful about wearing them in excess. If you’re dealing with a high heel-related injury or another foot problem altogether, have the issue diagnosed and treated by Dr. McDonald and his team today!

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