Why Do High Heels Hurt My Feet?

Medically Reviewed on 5/20/2022
why do high heels hurt my feet?
If you do not want to give up your high heels, there are some ways to alleviate the pain.

Wearing high heels may make you feel taller and more beautiful. However, they may create several foot problems because they compromise the stability of the ankle and increase the risk of injury. When the foot is positioned downward in heels, tremendous pressure is applied to the plantar (bottom) region of the forefoot. The higher the heel height, the more the pressure.

Some of the most prevalent complaints include leg, back, and foot discomfort. Long-term usage can potentially create structural abnormalities in the foot, resulting in bunions, hammertoes, and other disorders that may necessitate surgical intervention.

High heels, in addition to causing damage, exert excessive strain on the back and lower limbs, which can have a significant impact on posture, walking, and balance.

8 problems of the feet caused by high heels

According to some studies, high heels are the major cause of several foot discomfort and diseases. According to one survey, over half of all women wear high heels, and 71 percent of them admitted that they cause them pain and discomfort.

  1. Bunions
    • High heels exert pressure on the front of your foot, which can result in the formation of a bunion on the joint that joins your big toe to the foot. With time, the bunion grows, causing your big toe to bend toward or on top of the next toe.
  2. Corns and calluses
    • Wearing high heels can result in a corn on the top or side of your toes, as well as a callus on the sole of your foot. The afflicted part of the foot thickens and becomes uncomfortable. A podiatrist can remove the corn or callus.
  3. Hammertoe
    • High heels can cause one or both joints in your second, third, fourth, and little toes to flex. As a result, a hammertoe develops over time. Symptoms can be addressed noninvasively, but if left untreated, the illness may necessitate foot surgery.
  4. Achilles tendonitis
    • The Achilles tendon connects the heel bone to the calf muscles. It makes it easier to stand, walk, run, and leap. Wearing high heel shoes regularly might inflame the Achilles tendon and limit your range of motion.
  5. Plantar fasciitis
    • Wearing high heels can cause plantar fasciitis (inflammation of the fascia that connects the heel to toes). Plantar fasciitis can worsen by the increased strain on your heels caused by wearing high heels. You will have discomfort in your heel, a burning feeling, or soreness on the sole of your foot.
    • Staying off your feet, applying ice, utilizing arch supports, or using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines will help ease discomfort.
  6. Haglund’s deformity
    • Popularly called a “pump bump” is a bony development on your heel caused by your shoes rubbing up and down or pressing into the back of your foot over time.
  7. Knee and back pain
    • Your knees and back bear the brunt of your shifting weight as you attempt to keep your body balanced while wearing high heels. While the pain may be modest at first, wearing ill-fitting shoes for an extended period can develop into chronic pain.
  8. Morton’s neuroma
    • The use of high heels has been connected to the development of Morton's neuroma. The ball of your foot, commonly between the third and fourth toes, is affected by this ailment. Your toes may hurt, burn, or feel numb or you may have a strong, searing sensation in the ball of your foot.


Common Causes of Foot Pain See Slideshow

How can you reduce the pain caused by high heels?

If you do not want to give up your high heels, there are some ways to alleviate the pain. 

  • Wear comfy shoes to and from work, and then, change into high heels at work. 
  • Reduce the height of your stiletto heels.
  • Wedged heels provide greater support for your foot.
  • To reduce strain on your toes, wear open shoes.
  • Insert a shoe insert or cushioning into your shoe.

If you develop a foot condition, consult a doctor.

3 aspects to consider before choosing high heels

There are several ways and tips you may employ to make wearing heels more comfortable and significantly reduce the negative effect on the body. Knowing what to expect might help you prepare ahead of time and respond faster if something goes wrong.

  1. Use well-fitted shoes
    • If the shoes are too large, you will slip and slide and possibly get blisters from the friction. You will put additional strain on your toes if they are too small. If the shoes are uncomfortable on the first try, then those are not for you.
  2. A thicker heel is better
    • A larger heel on a pump helps distribute your weight evenly, relieving strain on your feet's most susceptible areas.
  3. Look out for the slope and height of the heel
    • When choosing heels, consider the slope of the shoe. Pass the shoe if the line from heel to toe is extremely steep. Choosing a two-inch heel can make a significant difference in the amount of discomfort you suffer and your general foot health throughout your life. You may have the best of both worlds by wearing heels and giving your feet a break at the same time.

You are not required to give up your high heels. However, with a few adjustments and concessions, you can take better care of your feet and feel less discomfort.

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Medically Reviewed on 5/20/2022
Image Source: iStock Image

Next Step Orthopedics. High Heels and Body Aches. https://www.nextsteportho.net/blog/high-heels-and-body-aches

Alliance Foot & Ankle Specialists. Do High Heels Cause Plantar Fasciitis? https://www.footdoc.org/faqs/high-heels-and-plantar-fasciitis.cfm