Jokingly referred to by podiatrists as shoe-icide, ultra-high heels can cause a variety of ailments, including ankle sprains and chronic foot pain. Whether of the skyscraper or midsized variety, these styles of shoe have the reputation for causing a painful knot to form on the back of the heel. The stiff material most heels are made from make these “pump bumps” worse by pressing against them, which can lead to blisters, bursitis, swelling, and pain in the Achilles tendon. While icing these areas down, adding orthotics and heal pads can help alleviate these symptoms, the bony lumps are permanent once formed.
High heels also forces the wearer’s foot into an unnatural position that puts additional stress on the ball of the foot, an important area where the long metatarsal bones join with the sesamoid bones and phalanges. Putting excessive pressure on these areas of the foot can cause the bones and surrounding nerves to become inflamed. In severe cases, this type of chronic stress can even cause hairline fractures to form in the ball of the feet. Switching to shoes with lower heels (ideally no longer than two inches) will help the wearer reduce pressure from the metatarsal bone, and decrease their risk of serious injury.