What’s the one thing a woman cannot live without? Some would say make-up, clothing, but many others agree that high heel shoes are it! So what’s the hype about high heel shoes? Some say wearing high heel shoes can make the appearance of women seem taller. Some may say that legs look longer and sleeker. Others state that wearing high heels add a “pop” or “flare” to an outfit. All in all, women love their high heels and some cannot live without them. But be careful, if high heels are worn long enough they can cause significant problems. Not only can it result in a tight Achilles (another topic altogether) but it can contribute to the formation of bunions. According to the American Podiatric Medical Association about 43% of women admit to wearing shoes even if they caused them discomfort and 72% say that have had shoe related issues related to their feet.
Let’s talk about bunions. This deformity is caused by deviation of the great toe. Many people misconstrue what a bunion actually is and believe it’s an “enlarged big toe bone or joint”. Bunions are typically hereditary, but they can also be caused when pressure is applied to the big toe; this causes the big toe to be pushed inwards towards the other toes. The pressure can sometimes force the big toe over or under the other. Increased pressure can be caused by wearing tight fitting shoes or shoes that sometimes cause the foot to be pushed forward for example high heeled or pointed toe shoes.
So, how would you know if you have a bunion? Some signs and symptoms include pain when walking, joint irritation, redness, and pain, possible deviation of the big toe toward other toes. Sometimes people may form blisters around the big toe as well. Having bunions may make finding shoes difficult. Many people may have to buy shoes a size larger and/or often wider. Bunions are mostly genetic. Foot structure may also be a factor. This anomaly includes conditions such as “flat feet”, abnormal bone structure, the disproportionate flexibility of ligaments, and certain neurological circumstances. Despite genetics, there is no doubt that high heeled shoes can exacerbate the condition and pain associated with bunions!
Treatments for bunions may only include conservative care, such as changes in shoe wear or obtaining orthotics, inserts, or padding. Rest, ice, and oral medications may also be used. These treatments only address the symptoms, but not the actual deformity itself. Surgery may be a necessary if the condition causes extreme discomfort or if it’s desired by the person with the deformity.
So women, whether you have an extended family tree of bunions or you just have to have the newest pair of trendy pumps, always remember to make sure your heels are comfortable and be sensible on how often and where you wear them. Ensure that your feet have enough room so no discomfort is being caused. If you believe you or someone you know may have a bunion, contact North Texas Foot and Ankle @ 214-574-9255 for a consultation.