Why Your Shoes Are Killing Your Feet

25 Jul

If Doctor Evil was a podiatrist, Mini-Me would be a women’s shoe designer.

high heels

Probably not the best choice for the activity

At times, women’s shoes qualify as instruments of torture.  Most certainly for your back, legs, ankles and feet. Wedges, stilettos, pencil heels, high heels, spike heels, all fall into the category that podiatrists refer to as “cruel shoes”.

Any shoe that lifts your heel off the ground shifts your weight onto your midfoot (ball) or forefoot (toe area). The higher the heel, the more forward the shift, and why the girl who dances all night in high heels has her shoes off before she even gets in the car. You may only weigh 100 pounds, but shifting that weight to a place not meant to carry it can cause significant long-term problems. Even if you failed algebra, that math is easy.

Most common injury caused by high heels over 3 inches: fractures and torn ligaments caused by inverting the ankle (twisting inward).

Besides shifting your center of gravity forward, high heels and wedges provide next to no support for your heel. That spike at the back of the shoe is at times only there to remind you how much you paid for them, how good they make you look and how you’re going to get your money’s worth even if it kills you (or your feet). Since your foot is only secured with a tiny strap, one misstep on a slippery dance floor or wet or cracked sidewalk may cause your heel to slide and your ankle to roll. Next stop – one month in a boot to immobilize your foot while your ankle fracture heals.

But let’s not stop with the shifting of the weight, because these styles offer additional torture. Many feature a pointy toe box, which squeezes the front of your foot so tightly that your toes cry for mercy. The result is bunions, arthritis, and any number of toe problems.

Wearing heels causes your foot to slide forward, redistributing your weight, creating unnatural pressure points and throwing your body’s natural alignment out of whack. High heels have been linked to overworked or injured leg muscles, osteoarthritis of the knee and low back pain. You also risk ankle injuries if you lose your balance and fall off your high heels. – Mayo Clinic.

Women account for ninety percent of the surgeries performed for the most common foot ailments, which is a pretty illuminating statistic. While there’s some debate in podiatry circles about whether footwear or genetics are the actually cause of foot problems like bunions, “pump bumps”, hammertoes, and tight heel cords, there’s no doubt that the high heeled shoe at the very least exacerbates the problem.

Most common injury caused by a platform wedge: Ballet Break. That’s when you fall off the wedge onto the side of your foot, causing a stress fracture.

So what’s a modern woman to do? Nikes and New Balances don’t often match business attire, much less elegant affairs. We recommend that you minimize the amount of time you spend in high heels, wedges, and the like, and don’t buy any heels taller than two inches. The right shoe to wear is the one that causes no pain or discomfort and fits and supports your foot like a glove.

But don’t switch out the high heels for ballet flats or flip-flops, because they can make the situation worse. The lack of support in these “shoes” can worsen conditions like plantar fasciitis. Treat your feet well when you’re young and they’ll treat you well when you’re aging.

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