Common High Heel Injuries and How to Prevent Them

OK, we understand fashion comes with a price and fancy footwear is one of the ultimate accessories! Sure, they look great…but do they really feel all that great? Sometimes wearing the wrong shoe can even be dangerous. So, although they may be stylish, it’s important to understand the risks and potential harm that high heels can cause. Stats show that high heels are one of the biggest factors leading to foot problems in women – with a third suffering permanent problems from prolonged wear. Thankfully, the emergency physicians at eMedical Urgent Care in Berkeley Heights and Middletown, New Jersey, can help you treat many high heel-related injuries including sprains and strains.

Injuries from High Heels on the Rise

Research shows that high-heeled shoe injuries have nearly doubled in the past 11 years in the United States. Sprains and strains to the foot and ankle are among the most common fashionable footwear complaints. Most injuries happen to individuals in their 20s and 30s, and it doesn’t take multiple studies to tell us that walking on high heels can cause discomfort in the lower leg, ankles and feet.

High Heel Hangover

The American Osteopathic Association states that one in 10 women wear high heels at least three days a week (and 1/3 have fallen while wearing them!). Heels can inhibit the movement of our ankle muscles and reduce our range of motion…and they’re also harder to balance. This day-after foot pain (“High Heel Hangover”) can cause all sorts of foot problems.

Ankle Sprains or Fractures

Ankle sprains and fractures occur most often when wearing high heels that are too tall and have a very thin heel. Foot fractures are pretty common in women who wear heels. Perhaps the streets are just a little too uneven and your new high heels aren’t quite as sturdy as you thought resulting in a tumble. Hopefully it’s just your ego that gets bruised—but did you know that falling in high heels can cause a misalignment in your mid foot, called a foot fracture?

Repeat after us: “higher is not always better.” When choosing the perfect heel for your night out, look for a shoe with a shorter, thicker heel.

A shorter high heel can be just as effective and stylish as a taller one. If you’re concerned that you may have fractured your foot after a fall, visit eMedical Urgent Care for an evaluation; no appointment necessary.

Chronic Back Pain

This may come as a surprise, but high heels do not fit the natural shape of your foot. Because high heels force your balance to the balls of your feet, your back has to make up for this shift in weight by throwing off your body’s alignment and adding extra stress and strain on your lower back. Over time, this can cause chronic back pain. Back pain ranks as the No. 2 reason people see a doctor but thankfully some of this pain can be prevented by simply choosing the proper footwear.

Don’t Pay the “High” Heeled Price

If you wear high heels day every day, it can take a toll on your entire body. But you don’t have to give up your heels completely, just choose sensible heels (1.5 inch or less) and a wide base to spread the weight more evenly. Your feet are literally your base of support, so if they’re not happy, nothing above them will be happy either! Consider an insole to reduce the impact on your knees, alternate your shoes from one day to the next and remember to take time to stretch your calf, leg and lower back muscles daily. And remember, eMedical provides great care when you need it (open 7 days a week, without the long waits and expenses) in two locations: Berkeley Heights, New Jersey, and Middletown, New Jersey.