Do you have a headache? What high-heeled shoe designers won’t tell you


“I look wonderful when I wear them,” most women will say when asked why they put up with uncomfortable, even excruciating high heels.


Until you’re hobbled, that is.


Nobility wears heels to separate themselves from the inferior class in Egyptian artwork going back to 3500 B.C. The destitute were forced to go barefoot. During the French Revolution (1789–1799), Marie Antoinette’s crimes against humanity were all about her excesses. She was reputedly executed by guillotine while wearing 2″ heels.


Flat shoes ruled wardrobes until the mid-1800s, when heels began to creep up again—literally 12 inches—and by the 1860s, some women were wearing 2 12 inch heels, most often made of brass. Roger Vivier (1903–1998), a shoe designer for the House of Dior, is credited with inventing the modern stiletto heel.


The weight is shifted to the ball of the foot when wearing heels. The knees and hips then push forward and the spine must hyperextend backwards to counteract. The more weight and pressure is shifted forward, the higher the heel. Nothing about it makes me feel at ease.


It can also cause hammer toes (when the toe is permanently twisted downward), bunions, and ingrown toenails. That’s not appealing (particularly when sandal season invites your toes to be free.)


Victoria Beckham had foot surgery in February, according to Fans assumed that Beckham was recovering from a bunionectomy, which she was advised to have in 2010. Beckham shared photographs of her postoperative boot. A bunion is a bony lump at the base of the big toe joint that is aggravated by high heels that shift the body weight forward. Google Victoria Beckham, the former Spice Girl turned fashion magnate who is married to David Beckham, is rarely seen without her signature heels.


Morton’s neuroma is a side effect of wearing heels for an extended period of time. Each year, more than 200,000 instances are reported in the United States. Females are twice as likely as men to be affected by Morton’s disease, which makes sense given that it can be caused by pressure, injury, or wearing high heels. Morton’s feels like a pebble in one’s shoe or the irritatingly folded over seam of a sock to those who suffer from it. The result is numbness in the ball of the foot or the toes.


Morton’s neuroma has been linked to the following factors:


High-heeled shoes. High-heeled shoes can put extra strain on your toes and ball of your foot.

Physical activities. Jogging or running are high-impact activities that produce recurrent injuries. Footwear that puts an excessive amount of pressure on the toes. Consider climbing shoes and ski boots.

Deformities of the feet. Morton’s neuroma is more likely to form if you have bunions and hammertoes, high arches, or flatfeet.

Foot discomfort is not a common occurrence. Women should bring their favorite shoes to their foot inspection, says Dr. Cynthia Oberholtzer-Classen, DPM. Most foot pain can be relieved with custom orthotics made specifically for women’s high or low heels.

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