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31-05-2011
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A Pain in the Foot
Warning Reading this may cause you to second guess wearing those high heels.

Quote:
Are High Heels Really Bad For Your Feet?


People are more in tune with their bodies than ever before -- we consider the safety of the food we eat, purity of the water we drink and the quality of the air we breathe. We are concerned about environmental toxins, workplace stresses and so many additional external forces affecting our health. There is a sense big businesses may not have your total health interests at heart, and this is seen in the tobacco industry and the fast food business. The Surgeon General places warnings on cigarettes. Fast food restaurants now post nutritional information for their customers to review.
But what about shoes? Can your footwear cause real long-term health consequences?
High heels and pointy-toed shoes have the stigma of being bad for feet, but this does not seem to stop women from wearing them. Are women unaware of the possible resultant foot deformities that are associated with these particular shoes? It would be hard imagine that women didn't know that certain shoes may be harmful for foot health. Some shoes may cause immediate foot pain as well as discomfort that may last for days. In a recent blog, I wrote about how to recover from a high heel hangover.
Perhaps women have a fashion "now" mentality and plan to deal with any resultant foot problems should they occur -- years down the road. Many know that certain shoes are "bad" but are under informed, as they don't know what actual foot problems can develop, or what's involved in correcting the problem.
Three common foot problems often associated with high heels and pointy-toe shoes are:
The Bunion: This is a bony prominence on the inside of the foot at the big toe joint and looks like a knob. A bunion forms when the big toe is pushed towards the second toe. A bunion is not the overgrowth of bone, rather the subluxation of the big toe joint over time. When surgery is indicated, it typically involves the breaking and resetting the dislocated bone with a screw(s). The surgeries involves six to eight weeks of recovery.
A Hammer Toe: This is a condition where a toe becomes buckled or crooked. Thick calluses may form on pressure spots. A common surgery, when indicated, involves removing the knuckle of the deformed toe. A wire holding the toe steady protrudes from the tip of the toe for several weeks.
Tight Calf Muscle (Equinus): Long term use of high heels are thought to cause shortening of the Achilles Tendon, resulting in more pressure being placed on the ball of the foot. Many foot surgeons consider this an underlying cause of several foot problems such as bunions, hammer toes, flat feet and others. Stretching may help counteract the problem. When surgeons believe this problem is pathologic, they may recommend lengthening of the Achilles tendon or cutting a muscle in the calf.
Are the shoes the cause of these foot problems?
While foot health professionals see the problematic effects of high heel and pointy shoe use in their clinical practice, no study has directly linked shoes to bunions and hammer toes.
Long-term large studies that can specifically link these conditions are not at the forefront of medical research -- and that is likely because nobody is dying of hammer toes. Smaller biomechanical studies have been performed that look into the altered foot mechanics of certain shoes.
High heels and pointy-toed are not going away anytime soon as they are at the forefront of fashion. It is likely that shoe companies are not going to voluntarily display a warning that their shoes may cause the foot problems. However, some high fashion shoe companies have started to incorporate foot health features into their shoe design and construction, and this is a step in the right direction. As people gravitate towards healthier shoes then industry will respond by producing more healthier fashionable shoe options.
Clearly I am not the Surgeon General, but I am a Foot Surgeon, and, in General, wearing high heels may result in the development of foot deformities. So be mindful about your exposure to high heels and pointy-toed shoes.
What do you think?
~ Dr. Neal M. Blitz
huffingtonpost.com

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04-06-2011
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I stick to platforms and wedges for the lesser of the evils haha. My mom's feet are a mess due to years of stilettos!

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08-06-2011
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This makes me sad... I mean, I am completely aware of the risks (my grandmother told me when I got my first pair of heels) but I absolutely hate wearing flats..I can only hope my feet will be forgiving and that I'm not forced to spend my days in a pair of scholls....

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08-06-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lela London View Post
I stick to platforms and wedges for the lesser of the evils haha. My mom's feet are a mess due to years of stilettos!
why would heel type matter?

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08-06-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dego View Post
why would heel type matter?
I'm guessing because platform and wedges generally cause less pain than let's say a pointed-toe stiletto. I personally go for one of the two if I have a long day with lots of running around ahead of me.

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09-06-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MimiV View Post
I'm guessing because platform and wedges generally cause less pain than let's say a pointed-toe stiletto.
I still don't see the connection. A stiletto heeled shoe can have rounded toes. A platform shoe can have a stiletto heel. A wedge-heeled shoe can have a platform.

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13-06-2011
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Well as someone who does have feet problems due to genetics, years of dance, and generally wearing bad shoes I can attest that wearing heels will give you loads of problems. People honestly don't realize how bad heels are for their overall long term health and what dealing with the problem consists of. I've personally had two very painful surgeries and several rounds of physical therapy plus I'm stuck wearing orthotics (which limit what types of shoes you can wear). And believe me I love shoes and heels just as much as the next girl but in reality it's not worth all the pain.

And Dego, I think MimiV means that stiletto's have less support for the feet vs a pair of wedges which have more support of the feet. All the weight of the foot is being put on one area (the heel and ball of the foot in most cases) which makes stiletto's more painful then a wedge which covers the whole foot.

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13-06-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YoninahAliza View Post
And Dego, I think MimiV means that stiletto's have less support for the feet vs a pair of wedges which have more support of the feet. All the weight of the foot is being put on one area (the heel and ball of the foot in most cases) which makes stiletto's more painful then a wedge which covers the whole foot.
That makes even less sense. The pressure from the foot upon the footbed of the shoe is the same whether that shoe has a stiletto or a wedge heel.

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13-06-2011
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Ahh... sorry I couldn't explain it better. From my understanding though their is a difference in pressure depending on what type of shoe you are wearing though. One gives you less support then the other.

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14-06-2011
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Dego, i understand you're a guy, do you wear high heels?

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14-06-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by á la Balenciaga View Post
Dego, i understand you're a guy, do you wear high heels?
I sure do.

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17-06-2011
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As for the PLATFORM, if the platform has 4” and pointy toe, you’ll have the same problems than with a 4” with pointy toes stilettos. Plus they have an additional problem that Dr. Brenner explains:
Quote:
Platform shoes and wedges tend to have rigid foot beds. "That throws off the biomechanics of walking," Brenner says. "Your foot is trying to bend a certain way, but the shoe is fighting you because it's so rigid." If the heel of the platform is much higher than the toe area, the shoe also puts pressure on the metatarsal bones.
Better: Flatter Platforms: Although still not recommended, a flatter platform shoe may put less strain on your feet than its peers. Look for a wide wedge or platform that is nearly parallel with the ground. This will lessen the pressure on the ball of the foot. However, the rigid sole remains a barrier to the natural walking motion.
webmd.com

If you still don't have nightmares about what other members have written, here are some more:

HIGH HEELS:
Ultra-high heels force the feet into a position that puts stress on the ball of the foot and may inflame the area. Also put too much bodyweight toward the toes and squeeze them together, overtime can produce toe deformities. All high heels boost the risk of an ankle sprain, the most common is lateral sprain, which happens when you roll onto the outside of your foot.
If the high heels are also narrow heels, are worst because the weight is pinpointed on one area and you are more likely to trip and sprain your ankle. Chunky heels are better because has more surface area and distributes your weight more evenly. This makes the feet more stable, although high heels still put stress on the ball of your foot.
Some said heels should have a height between 1”-1.5”, Dr. Brenner said no more than 2” and even those should be worn in moderation.()

POINTY TOES: squeeze the entire front of your foot together and can cause nerve pain, bunions, blisters, hammertoes and some women even develop bruises under their toenails.

FLAT BALLET SHOES: no arch support and can lead to knee, hip and back problems. Poor back support is also associated with plantar fascitis. Some of these problems can be prevented with orthotic inserts to provide arch support, avoid your foot rolling and reduce the pressure on sensitive areas.

FLIP-FLOPS: the foot is too exposed and has no protection and, like ballet shoes, has no arch support and can lead to the same problems, and without the possibility of orthotic inserts.

RIGID MATERIAL: can cause a painful knot on the back of the heel. The rigid material presses on a bony deformity some women have called a “pump bump”. The pressure leads to blisters, swelling, bursitis, even pain in the Achilles tendon. The bony protrusion is permanent.

WRONG SIZE: 9 out of 10 women are wearing shoes that are too small. They can cause calluses, blisters, bunions, corns,…
(source: webmd.com)

So if you do not have one problem, you probably have another.
I know it's silly, but relieved me that even rich celebrities and models have bunions, hammertoes,... I read that Victoria Beckham gets botox in her feet to wear high heels without pain.

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17-06-2011
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"Chunky heels are better because has more surface area and distributes your weight more evenly."

I would only agree with this regarding walking on an even surface, if you are walking on an uneven surface, the bottom of a chunky heel is more likely to be placed on an area with altitude differences, causing the shoe/foot to lean inwards or outwards. A chunky heel will also make it harder to rotate the foot back to its correct perpendicular orientation.

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17-06-2011
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we already have this thread somewhere...
i wish i could remember what it was called so that i could merge...
anybody else remember?

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28-06-2011
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This is a marvelous thread, I've learned rather a lot from reading it. But can anyone tell me, what is the closest thing to the healthiest shoe? I feel that we are all different in this respect, for one may wear high heels as if it is second nature, yet another will stumble and complain of sore feet. I am somewhere in between - around 3 inches with a wedge is most comfortable for me, far more than flats, which although comfortable (and they make me feel sprightly!) and my favourite type of shoe, they make the muscles in the back of my legs feel pressured.

As for stiletto shoes, I have never been able to wear them. I am sure that there is a fine art to this.

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