Dakota Foot & Ankle Clinic Blog
Posts for tag: injury
The High Cost of Wearing High Heels
High heels are often a Podiatrist’s worst nightmare. Sure the “glass slipper” may fit, but the question to ask is what effects can heels have on my feet? Wearing a high heel can be associated with over a handful of deformities and conditions.
Neuroma: Everyone’s anatomy consists of a nerve bulb in our inner spaces that sends a little nerve to adjacent sides of each toe. These nerve bulbs can become compressed, enlarge and essentially scar down forming what is called a neuroma. This can be very painful and is often relieved when shoes are taken off.
Capsulitis: High heels cause the front of the foot to bear most of our weight. Excess weight and pressure on the forefoot can result in capsulitis, an inflammation of the soft tissue around the joints. People will relate that it feels like stepping on a rock or a wadded up sock.
Ingrown Toenails: High heels cause the foot to gravitate towards the front of the shoe, which is often much narrower. This results in squishing the toes together and increased pressure on the nail beds with the consequences of painful ingrown toenails.
Pump Bump: A haglunds deformity is often referred to as a pump bump due to its origin from wearing heels. The bump is a bony growth to the back of the heel that can be very irritating with the rubbing of shoe gear over the soft tissues covering the bone.
Stress Fractures and fractures: With all of the increased pressure placed on the front of the foot, wearing heels repetitively can set you up for a stress fracture. Heels also cause instability of the ankle allowing for sprains and at its worst, fractures.
Aside from the aforementioned complications of wearing high heels, there are numerous other problems not discussed that heels can cause your feet, not to mention your knees and spine. So, if the slipper fits, tell Prince Charming you’d rather wear a tennis shoe.
I recently had a patient who came to me with blisters and pre-ulcerative calluses to both feet and was experiencing pain after her basketball games. It turns out she has been in other sports, including basketball in previous years, without similar issues. After further questioning, I found out that she was wearing a team basketball shoe meaning everyone on the team wore the same style of shoe. Let’s face it, I’m a woman and I like things to match. After all, it looks good when the team runs onto the court with matching shoes, but ultimately it is not the best choice for the team and their feet. Here are five reasons that team shoes may not be a good idea:
1. Foot type: Everyone is born with a different foot type that can’t all be accommodated by the same shoe. Some people have high arches while others have low arches and some people fall in between that spectrum. Each person may need a different amount of support and stability as a result and what may seem comfortable to one may not be comfortable to all.
2. Size/width: Aside from foot type, feet come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Not all shoes come in a wide range of widths and lengths that will allow for a proper fit for everyone on the team.
3. Deformities: Young people can have deformities such as bunions, tailor bunions, hammertoes etc. which causes the shoe to be too snug or cause pain. It is important that an athlete is pain free during and after their activity.
4. Devices: Some athletes may need to wear braces or custom inserts in their shoes which will cause a shoe to fit differently than someone who doesn’t use these devices.
5. Injury: Athletes are at a higher risk of injury when wearing shoes that do not fit appropriately for a couple reasons. First, if the shoe structure and amount of stability is not correct for a certain foot type, sprains and strains are more likely to occur. Secondly, if the shoe is not comfortable people generally compensate by walking/running differently which also sets an athlete up for injury.
Unfortunately, small North Dakota towns have teams that are small in number with no one to fill the bench and are in dire need of each and every player, which happens to be the case with my patient. With that being said, preventing injuries is critical and avoiding team shoes is just one way to prevent this.