Every lady has a different maximum heel height that is comfortable. The front and back of the ankle determines the maximum angle the foot will fit into a high heeled shoe and be able to walk comfortably. Also the length of the foot determines the height of the heel that can be worn to comfortable limits. It is a simple matter of geometry.
Wearing a high heeled shoe moves the forefoot fatty padding to behind your toes instead of under the ball of your foot where it rests naturally in a flat shoe or barefoot. That is why the ball of the foot aches so much when wearing high heels. Also, the weight of the lady wearing a high heeled shoe is a significant factor. The heavier you are, the more impact on the forefoot and the more painful it will be.
Stress fractures are common in ladies wearing excessively high heeled shoes and dancing in them such as a wedding. The pain starts in the forefoot about 3-5 days after the initial stress fracture.
It is much easier to sprain an ankle when wearing high heeled shoes. The ligaments at the sides of ankle relax immediately in high heeled shoes. If the ankle wobbles to the side, it actually leans a great amount before the ankle ligaments start to engage. By that time the ankle is past its critical point of self correcting and the sprain or even break of the ankle will occur. That is why silly competitions for ladies such as sprinting 50 meters race in high heels or weight lifting in high heels for competitions are no laughing matter. They should result in a severe ankle sprain or ankle break and it is sheer luck if it does not occur.
Wearing high heels can be enjoyable. These are tips to help protect the foot and also help it recover;
- I wear high heels to work 2 days a week to show my patients that it is completely possible to wear heels to work. For example, my comfortable ‘workable’ heel height is 55mm. I fit my shoes to the larger foot and wear a heel grip on the smaller foot that feels loose. That way my toes do not get scrunched and corn formation is prevented.
- I use a shoe with an orthotic with a transverse arch lift on the other days. This is to counter-act the affects of the high heeled shoes on the ball of my foot. It helps keep the essential fibro-fatty pad in place.
- I use ‘Beauty and the Bunion’ foot tape to help keep my big toe straight and the forefoot tight so as to reduce the impact on the forefoot bones and reduce bunion formation. This helps keep the foot ligaments tight after they have been strained in high-heeled shoes.
- I use an electro-muscle stimulator called the Footerella EMS, on my foot to keep the muscles strong after wearing shoes. I do this on a Thursday morning when I am preparing my diary for the next week ahead. It helps keep my forefoot slim and tight.
- I wear “Bunny Pads” on the ball of my foot and on my small toes to protect them so that my skin on my feet look perfect without any blemishes on the toes from wearing high heels. It also cushions the ball of my feet if I am going to be standing in my heels rather than sitting.
Dubai Podiatry Centre