High heel hazards

By Britney Glaser - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Alright, ladies...if you work high heels into your wardrobe each day, there's no doubt that you've endured pain for fashion's sake!  But the price you pay for wearing heels can be hefty when it comes to unwanted foot problems.

For Jennifer Willis style and discomfort go hand-in-hand when it comes to her feet.  "I can wear heels all day," says Jennifer, "but the next day, the balls of my feet will be hurting."

Like nearly half of women in the U.S. surveyed about shoe choices, Jennifer falls into the category of putting up with the pain if it makes her look better.  "I like to wear high heels because it gives me more height," says Jennifer, "and it looks better with the clothes that I wear on a daily basis."

Whether it's stilettos, block heels or wedges - Center for Orthopaedics Podiatrist Tyson Green says when you consistently put your foot in unnatural positions, pain will ensue.  "With high heels, you put more pressure on the fore foot area and the ball of the foot," says Dr. Green, "so a lot of people will get what we call metatarsalgia or pain underneath the ball of the foot."

The trend of pointy heels has given way to more women complaining of toe pain.  "The inside of the big toe will have some nail problems or will cause a type of ingrown toe nail," says Dr. Green.

The unseen problems can also be more severe - like stress fractures and osteoarthritis. Dr. Green says since it doesn't look like high heels are going out of style anytime soon, there are some changes women can make to ease the pain.  "There are different types of inserts, padding, different shoes, varying the height of the heel is usually a good option," he says.

Even with the discomfort, Jennifer says she's not changing her fashion staple.  "I'll continue to wear high heel shoes because they look better with certain outfits and for the height," she adds.

*Dr. Green advises women to abide by the "3-Hour Rule." That means if you'll be on your feet for more than three hours, opt for lower heels with plenty of room in the toe-box area.  To learn more about the effects of high heels and get some free advice on shoe shopping, join Dr. Green Thursday, September 10th at 5:30 P.M. for the "Get it Together, Girl" seminar. It's at Cameron State Bank's main office on Nelson road. It's free, but pre-registration is required. Call 312-7731 to get your seat.

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