Author: Caroline Robinson
High-heeled shoes are thought to characterize femininity and beauty, making the wearer feel self-assured and elegant. But they also alter alignment of the feet, legs, and back, and can have long-term effects on posture and health.
Feet suffer considerably inside high-heeled shoes. The higher the heel, the more the foot slides inside the shoe and the greater the pressure and friction under the heel, the ball of the foot, and the big toe.
Friction is damaging to the skin causing a burning sensation and blisters and, over time, it leads to the development of hard skin and corns. This stress can also cause deeper soft tissue problems in the foot, such as a neuroma (thickened nerve).
As heel height increases, body weight shifts towards the inside border of the foot and under the big toe. Over time, this increased pressure on the big toe may cause it to be forced towards the second toe.
Damage to the big toe joint in the form of bunions (hallux valgus) has been associated with prolonged wearing of high-heeled shoes. And women who frequently wear high heels commonly have a larger forefoot area and a longer big toe.