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Educational Resources

Here’s Why Wearing High Heels Hurts Feet


Have you noticed that wearing high heels hurts your feet? Once, stilettos were a major staple in nearly every woman’s wardrobe. Now, in a post-COVID world, many women have swapped their heels for sneakers or flats. Here’s why that’s a good thing.

Why Wearing High Heels Hurts Feet

Many doctors tell their patients to avoid them at all costs, or risk facing serious foot and ankle damage. But our team of Spring, TX podiatrists takes a more measured approach. We don’t say never wear heels, we just say wear them less often. And try choosing pairs with heel heights below 3 inches. In fact, as one patient recently shared, “GREAT experience with Dr Bachmann for bunion problem. Toe was realigned well, pain management post-surgery was phenomenal and excellent stitches resulted in very minimal scar. I did the cold therapy and the MLS laser therapy (yes, just do it!) and followed all the instructions. Unbelievably, I was able to wear a mid-heel on day 88 and back in high heels for work 6 weeks later. Dr Bachmann came highly recommended and 7 months post surgery, I definitely agree. He’s THE guy. Go see Dr Bach!”

As you can see, we work with you to get you back in the shoes you love. But that’s not meant to be an everyday decision. Now, many women know that high heels can lead to blisters and corns, and they still stick with their favorite shoes.  But thanks to new research, we know that can’t keep happening.

High Heels Change Foot Movement and Strutures

wearing high heels hurts feet

Photo by Simona Todorova on Unsplash

With a new study, we’ve learned that your shoe can change the entire way your foot moves, even after they are taken off. The study listed nearly twelve possible injuries heel wearers can obtain from wearing high heels too often, including: Morton’s neuroma, Achilles tendonitis, hammertoes, pump bump, sprained ankles, and arthritis. So, as we said before, if avoiding high heels is not possible, at least wear a lower heel or a heel with a wider toe box to avoid some of these ailments.

High heels can negatively affect your feet if they do not offer enough support. If you would like to learn more, schedule a consultation with our team of highly-trained positarists. We are here to answer all of your foot- and ankle-related questions.

Effects of High Heels on the Feet

High heels are popular shoes among women because they are associated with femininity.  Despite their appeal, they can cause many health problems if worn too frequently.

What parts my body will be affected by high heels?

  • Ankle Joints
  • Achilles Tendon – may shorten and stiffen with prolonged wear
  • Balls of the Feet
  • Knees – heels cause the knees to bend constantly, creating stress on them
  • Back – they decrease the spine’s ability to absorb shock, which may lead to back pain.  Also, the vertebrae of the lower back may compress.

What kinds of foot problems can develop from wearing high heels?

  • Corns
  • Calluses
  • Hammertoe
  • Bunions
  • Morton’s Neuroma
  • Plantar Fasciitis

Exercises to Relieve High Heel Pain

Feeling the pain of wearing those stilettos for too long? These five exercises could help soothe those sore and tired feet.

1. Ball of foot muscle release

Try rolling a tennis ball beneath the ball of your foot, moving it back and forth between your heels and toes. Engage in 20 rounds of rolling on each foot, to relieve pain and tension, and prevent more permanent concerns such as Morton’s neuroma and metatarsalgia.

2. Toe Spreading and Spacing

Start by weaving the fingers of one hand between your toes, then placing your other hand on top of your foot. With that top hand, rotate your foot slowly in a clockwise and counter clockwise direction, in order to stretch out your toe muscles while also strengthening them. This could help prevent hammertoes. (Or, for a less involved solution, simply try using toe spacers, or weaving a sock between your toes.)

Need more help managing your foot pain after wearing the wrong shoes? If you have any questions, please contact one of our offices in Spring and Tomball, TX. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle injuries.

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