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With the races just around the corner, some of our minds will be turned to fascinators, fashion and footwear. The footwear aspect can be a minefield as we ultimately weigh up the importance of comfort over style.

In the world of shoe shopping there are two undeniable truths:

  1. Whenever the perfect pair of shoes are on sale, they will always be half a size too small
  2. Most of us disregard this and buy them anyway resigning ourselves to hobbling home with battered feet by the end of the day.

Come on, you know its true 😉

This begs the question, are our high heels which may also be half a shoe size too small really doing us that much damage?

The short answer is yes.

As the image below depicts, high heels change the position of the joints in the foot and in doing so this places excess pressure on the metatarsal heads or the ‘ball of the foot’.

In a nut shell the short-term effects can include:

  • Increased pressure on the ball of the foot, which can lead to soft tissue swelling over the metatarsal area. This increased pressure within the metatarsals can cause irritation to local nerves, creating tingling or numbness. 😱
  • Blisters may develop due to narrow shoe fit and insufficient cushioning. 😱
  • Reduced stability through the heel and ankle can increase your risk of suffering an ankle sprain 😱

In a larger nut shell, the long term effects can include:

  • Increased risk of permanent joint changes to the feet including bunions and hammer toes 😱
  • Shortening of the muscles and tendons in the lower limb, including the Achilles tendon and gastrocnemius 😱
  • Ongoing irritation to the nerves in the forefoot can lead to neuroma development 😱
  • Increased stress on the knees, hips and lower back due to altered biomechanics and position during walking 😱

Does this mean that we should NEVER wear high heels again?!?!

Well no not really, like anything that isn’t good for us we should use the approach of moderation.

Save your high heel use for a really special occasion, and try to opt for a lower heel or wedge style over a stiletto. Particularly for a race day situation, a chunkier heel or wedge style are more suited to potentially uneven surfaces in comparison to a narrow stiletto. Another consideration is to bring a pair of flat shoes to wear at the end of the day – this also avoids the ‘barefoot look’ many race goers are seen sporting when exiting the venue.

As a podiatrist, my professional recommendation is to try and avoid high heels as they really aren’t designed with either comfort or practicality in mind. However, as a woman who occasionally attends a wedding or event where a sensible pair of flats really aren’t ideal, I advocate for a lower heel or wedge as an occasional option. Remember, just because it fits doesn’t mean you should wear it!

If you feel you would like a professional opinion from our expert staff here at Border Podiatry Centre you can give us a call on 60245577 or book online by clicking HERE

We hope you back a winner 😊