What a day. You can’t wait to take your shoes off. Being fashionable can be painful, if you constantly wear high heel shoes. Beware of neuromas, bunions, “hammer toes”, heel and arch pain which can become debilitating as you decide which high heels to wear.
Good news ladies! You may continue to wear high heel shoes with minimal to no foot pain if you take care of your feet.
Your feet are engineering marvels. They are the foundation to your body. Problems with your feet can also affect your knees, hips and back. Each foot is made up of three sections: forefoot, mid-foot and hind-foot. The forefoot involves your toes. The mid-foot is the middle section of the foot, and the hind-foot involves the ankle and heel.
Each foot is supported by three arches. Foot arches are the body’s springs and shock absorbers. They propel your feet and absorb body weight and impact when you walk, run or jump. Daily wearing of high heel shoes restricts your feet and the associated articulations and deforms the transverse and medial longitudinal arches. The transverse arch runs across your the bottom of your toes, while medial longitudinal arch runs lengthwise along inside part of your foot.
High heel shoes change how your feet distribute body weight. Usually, there is an increased weight distribution to the second to fourth toes which collapses the transverse arch. Your body attempts to lift and pad the fallen transverse arch with calluses. Other scar tissues will also form underneath the ball of your toes. You’ll often experience pain at the bottom of the second to fourth toes after hours of wearing high heels.
These shoes can also increase the tension in the medial longitudinal arch and concentrate abnormal impact to the ankle and heel. Arch and heel pain can be debilitating after a full day of in high heels.
The narrow, toe box common to most high-heel shoes often deforms the forefoot and causes neuromas between the third and fourth toes, bunions and hallux valgus and hallux rigidus to the big toe.
There are sensible precautions that you can take which allow you to continue wearing high heels with minimal to no foot pain. Wear heels that are two inches or less. High heels disrupt gait and posture for the entire body. Shoes that are greater than two inches significantly influence lower extremity mechanics and gait.
Stretching the calf muscles will reduce some of the tension and tightness in the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia. Plantar fasciitis and calcaneal bursitis are common among runway models and ballroom dancers.
If you experience pain to your heel, arch or toe, get them treated before the problems become permanent. Conservative treatments should always be considered before any type of foot surgery. Conservative treatments are cost effective and less complicated.
A chiropractor who is knowledgeable in foot biomechanics and pathology can help you with your foot pain. Chiropractic adjustments restore ankle and toe articulations that are often restricted and hindered from wearing high heels. Mild form of hallux valgus and rigidux may be help with chiropractic adjustments. Deep muscle and soft tissue treatments such as trigger point therapy and Active Release Technique can relief heel, arch and toe pain associated to ankle and foot joint restrictions. Cold laser therapy not only reduces inflammation associated with neuromas, but it also relieves the burning pain.
The shape, size and arches of your feet are unique. Once your foot pain has resolved, custom orthotics for high heel shoes should be fitted for long term care. These customized, shoe inserts correct foot over-pronation and support the medial longitudinal arch. The high heel orthotics also have metatarsal pads that remove unwanted pressure to your second to fourth toes by lifting and supporting the transverse arch.