You might love your high heels and would never be caught dead in flats, sneakers, or loafers, but are those sky-high shoes destroying your feet? Are the killer heels you adore (and pay so much for), literally killing your feet? They just might be, and if so, you may have to rethink your obsession with foot fashion, or at the very least consult a podiatrist about what those prized pumps are doing to your poor feet.
The Signs That Tell You It's The Shoes
While interchangeable with other situations that cause foot and toe problems, like standing too long, overuse, genetic conditions, and injuries, you're probably experiencing at least a few of the following, indicating the shoes are to blame, at least in part:
- You've noticed corns and/or calluses on your feet and toes.
- You have one or more ingrown toenails.
- Bunions are becoming a problem.
- Your arches are fallen or painful.
- Your Achilles tendon (running from the back of your ankle up to the calf) is hurting.
- You've developed hammertoes, a condition where the toe curls under.
- You have issues with your lower back.
Although not all of your foot pain may be attributed to the impractical shoes you can't quit, wearing them will exacerbate any existing conditions you may have.
Why Those Heels Are Hurting Your Feet
Heels contort your feet, bones and all, into unnatural positions, and that alone can create problems; however, since you're putting your weight on that same contorted area, the pressure is amplified. Add the odd angle of your arch and you're in for a slew of aches, pains, and ailments, from the tips of your toes to the small of your back. Despite how fantastic heels look and the extent the fashion industry worships killer heels, they're not something you'd ever catch Mother Nature wearing herself.
Home Remedies For Immediate Relief
Although any serious or lasting pain should be reported to your doctor, there are a lot of ways you can feel near instant relief after a long day high up on those heels:
- Soak your feet in warm water and Epsom salt.
- Ice your aching feet.
- Elevate your legs.
- Try exercises to strengthen foot muscles.
- Ask someone who loves you to massage your feet a few times a week.
Alternating between the heels you love and shoes that are good for you may also help you out in both the near and far future, as may adding more seafood or a fish oil supplement to your diet. Fish oil alleviates inflammation and aches for some, along with supporting essential nerve health.
Long-Term Solutions From A Foot Doctor
Whether the pain and discomfort you're experiencing are due solely to your high heels or some other complications are culpable, a podiatrist can help. Don't avoid going to one simply because you expect to be lectured about your fancy shoes. Foot doctors are knowledgeable and understanding, and even if you get an earful about your impractical-but-irresistible designer footwear, you will get help with any number of foot-related ailments:
- Arthritis, which you may be more prone to if you're older and/or in the habit of adorning your feet in snazzy shoes
- Heel spurs, a painful deposit of calcium, possibly attributed to improper shoe fit or style
- Plantar fasciitis, an uncomfortable tissue inflammation that is usually more bothersome first thing in the morning
- Ingrown toenails, which might hurt so badly you can't wear your favorite heels
- Ankle sprains, common to fans of stilettos
- Corns and calluses you can't get rid of on your own
- Any other issue with your feet, be it acute or chronic, major or minor
Along with providing an official diagnosis, podiatrists also have access to many prescription and non-prescription products that could help your feet, such as orthotics (inserts for arches, toes, and heels), shoes, creams and lotions, and other treatments. You might be able to treat your feet in private while still wearing your favorite shoes out, but your circumstances could also force you to be more practical if they're dire enough.
The Choice You Have To Make
Ultimately, you're probably going to have to choose between having foot pain and problems with your favorite heels or life without the sophisticated and sexy shoes you love. Confess your obsession honestly with your foot doctor to find out if you have any options other than total withdrawal. If your feet are bothering you that much, it may be worth giving up the high heels for a little relief. Especially if you've worn them for years and are now facing the possibility of permanent problems with your feet, opting for something more practical is probably the best thing for you.
Think, too, of when you're much older and may pay a really high price for those high heels, like having difficulty walking or wearing orthopedic or diabetic shoes and needing corrective surgery. While your podiatrist can't quite predict the future, the knowledge and experience they have does give them a sort of crystal ball into which they can get a glimpse of the possible long-term effects your favorite shoes will eventually have on your tired and aching feet.
For more information, contact a medical facility like Carolina Foot & Ankle Specialists.