What High Heels Really Do to Your Feet – Ask a Concord NC Podiatrist

August 20, 2019

In the Western world, few things are seen as stylish and glamorous as a pair of high heels—the higher, the better. However, the fact that high heels hurt your feet is far from a secret. Today, our Concord NC podiatrist explains how high heels really put your feet—and entire body—at risk for some serious foot and ankle issues. Below are just a few problems to be aware of if you choose to step out in heels.

 Ankle Injuries

Yes, you really could “break your ankle” by wearing a pair of high heels. When your heels are so narrow, even stepping on a pebble could cause you to roll your ankle inwards or outwards, straining or breaking the lateral ligaments. Healing from a lateral ankle sprain takes quite a while, and you might end up in a not-very-sexy ankle brace for weeks while you recover.

Toenail Fungus

Speaking of sexy, yep, we said “toenail fungus”! Fungus needs three things in order to grow: 1) A warm, dark environment, 2) A food source, like sweat, and 3) A way inside the body, which could be as small as a blister or ingrown toenail. Since high heel wearers are especially susceptible to ingrown toenails and blisters, the fungus follows.

Ingrown Toenails

Let’s talk more about those ingrown toenails. Wearing heels for a long time traumatizes the toenails and affects the way they look and grow. Tight-fitting or pointy-toed shoes create chronic pressure on the toenails and can cause the nail to puncture the skin, which, again, can lead to infection and fungus. If left untreated, high heels can cause permanent damage to the toenail  

Leg Pain

If you wear high heels too long and too often, your muscles and tendons will adapt to you standing and moving differently. This can lead to a number of ankle and leg problem like plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, calf muscle strains, and hamstring strains. That “sexy walk” that heels give you actually causes long-term damage to your body. To make matters worse, when you return to wearing ordinary shoes, you’ll be highly susceptible to injury. 

Help Prevent Foot and Ankle Issues – Talk to Your Podiatrist!

Those who want to wear heels for special events and parties are in somewhat of a Catch-22. In order to maximize your comfort and minimize your chance of injury, you need to wear your heels all the time, so that your muscles and tendons can adapt to support your weight. However, wearing heels all the time puts you at risk, too! Our advice as foot and ankle doctors, therefore, is to avoid heels at all costs—your feet, ankles, and legs should take precedence over fashion!

However, we understand that for many people, high heels are just a must. If you fall into that category, head over to our blog on how to take care of your feet while wearing heels so you’ll be as safe as possible.

Lastly, if you’re looking for a podiatrist in Concord NC, head over to Ryan Foot and Ankle for professional, experienced podiatry care!