Not all foot pain is the result of the shoes you wear, and not all problems are fixed with bigger shoes. Just because your feet hurt in heels doesn’t mean you are going to stop wearing them. What is important is to understand if the shoe is causing the problem, aggravating it, or merely unmasking it. With that in mind, here are the top 5 foot conditions that high heels make worse.
1. Instability of the Second Toe. Symptoms include pain on the ball of the foot, swelling of the second toe where it meets the foot, and tenderness on the side facing the 3rd toe. The toe may also deviate towards the big toe.
2. Bunions. Common signs include pain on the side of big toe, callus build up on the side of toe, prominence over the inside foot, and deviation of the big toe towards the second toe.
3. Hammer Toes. Symptoms include pain on the top of the middle nuckle on the toe, deformity of a fixed bent toe, callus on nuckle and toe tip where the shoe rubs and toe hits the ground.
4. Ankle Instability. This is caused by repeat episodes of give-way ankle rolls. You may feel pain on the lateral leg after wearing heels, or have mild swelling. The ankle will often give way on uneven ground.
5. Morton’s Neuroma. This condition is classified as thickened painful area between the base of toes 3 and 4 on the ball of the foot. There may be loss of sensation on the lateral side of toe 3 and inner or medial side of toe 4. Symptoms from this condition wax and wane depending on activity.
Lance Silverman, MD
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