Fashionable shoes are a passion for many women, especially when it comes to high heels. Some even say Cinderella is proof that a pair of shoes can change your life! However, it may not always be a change for the better! High-heeled shoes can cause pain, deformities, and damage to the feet that can last a lifetime. High-heeled shoes crowd the toes, force the body’s weight onto the ball of the foot, and disrupt the body’s alignment. Women are more vulnerable to certain foot problems than men, mainly from years of walking in narrow-fitting shoes that squeeze the toes, and from high-heels that cramp the forefoot. These kinds of shoes can also pose risks for arch and ankle problems. Foot pain can make even light activities incredibly difficult, it is hard to feel happy when pain is disrupting your life!

Here are some of the foot and ankle problems that are commonly experienced by women:

Morton’s Neuroma-  An enlarged, benign growth of nerves, most commonly between the third and fourth toes. This thickening of nerve tissue in the ball of the foot is caused by compression and irritation of the nerve, such as from wearing shoes that have a tapered toe box or high-heeled shoes that cause the toes to be forced into the toe box. Symptoms may include a burning pain that radiates from the ball of the foot to the toes or numbness in the toes. Conservative treatments usually resolve the pain or progressions of the condition. This can include wearing roomier, lower-heeled footwear, orthotics to reduce the pressure, or injections to reduce swelling and inflammation.


Bunions  These begin with a leaning of the big toe, gradually changing the angle of the bones over the years and slowly producing the characteristic bump. Wearing shoes that are too tight is the leading cause of bunions , but they can also be caused by an inherited faulty mechanical structure of the foot. Although both men and women can get bunions , the shoes worn by women sometimes make the deformity get progressively worse. Because they are bone deformities, bunions do not resolve by themselves. The goal for bunion treatment is twofold: first, to relieve the pressure and pain caused by irritations, and second to stop any progressive growth of the enlargement. Protective padding, splints, orthotics, shoe changes, and exercises are some of the treatments used for bunions .

Heel Pain and Plantar Fasciitis  Heel pain is most often caused by P lantar Fasciitis , although it may also be due to other causes. Faulty foot structure is a common cause of P lantar Fasciitis , although in women, it may result from wearing non-supportive shoes such as flip-flops and ballet flats. This condition is often successfully treated with anti-inflammatory medications, ice packs, stretching exercises, orthotic devices, and physical therapy. MLS Laser Therapy has also been effective in treating Plantar Fasciitis . This therapy uses concentrated light energy to stimulate the body’s own healing process and speed up the process of relieving inflammation and pain.

Ankle Sprains  While anyone can sprain an ankle, women are especially vulnerable to this injury when wearing high-heeled shoes (especially on slippery surfaces), platform-soled shoes, or other improper footwear. Primary symptoms are pain following a twist or injury, swelling, and bruising. Treatment includes resting and elevating the ankle, and applying ice to reduce swelling. Compression bandages also may be used to immobilize and support the injury during healing. MLS Laser Therapy can be used on ankle sprains and other injuries to help speed the healing process, reduce inflammation, and provide pain relief. To prevent ankle sprains , try to maintain strength, balance, and flexibility in the foot and ankle through exercising, stretching, and wearing well-fitted shoes.

So how can you help your feet to feel happy and fashionable? Here are some steps women can take to reduce high heel-related foot problems :

  • Avoid shoes with pointed toes.
  • Avoid heels taller than two inches.
  • Recognize foot pain as a warning sign.


Women’s high-heeled shoes are not going out of style anytime soon. But by recognizing pain as a warning sign, wearing high heels in moderation, and seeking medical care when problems are in their early stages, women can have happiness in their soles while still looking fabulous! If you have been experiencing foot pain, contact Dr. Kylin Kovac. He has dedicated his life to helping the people in the Idaho Falls and Rexburg areas with foot and ankle pain. He is highly qualified and ready to get you back on your feet!

Some content provided by The ACFAS.