“The High Cost of High Heels”

There is an old saying that “pain is beauty,” and nothing comes to mind quicker than the plight of those who live and swear by wearing high heels. In the downtown streets of Houston, high heels are bound to be seen on the feet of many folks. You can’t blame them for being drawn to the appeal of high heels–they’re sleek, attractive, and advertise a person’s fashion sense. Like any other form of wearable attire, high heels are a fashion statement and allow a person to express themselves in ways that wearing gym shoes might not.

However, that mode of self expression can come at a high cost to the health of the feet in those high heels. Even just two or more inches of heel on your shoes can cause problems. This is especially true if you have had foot-related conditions and injuries in the past, and high heels not only make you vulnerable to repeating or worsening these conditions or injuries, but can help cause them in the first place:


A bunion is a deformity of the big toe bone, or the hallux, caused by long term exposure to pressure and constraint of the big toe. Bunions can also be developed due to disorders like arthritis, or because your family has a history of bunion development. Shoes that are tight, narrow, and higher in the heel are linked to bunion development. There are various treatment methods for bunions, but ultimately, surgery is the only way to possibly correct the bunion.

Foot Pain:

Regular shoes allow our weight to be distributed evenly, where it is appropriate, across our whole foot. When you put on a pair of high heels, your weight is significantly shifted. Even a three-inch heel can apply three-times your normal weight to the ball of your foot, which bears the brunt of it all in high heeled shoes. Besides bunions, other conditions like a neuroma or hammertoe can develop alongside a bunion, increasing pain and discomfort even more.

Muscle and Joint Pain:

When you wear high heels, not only are you shifting the way your weight bears on the joints, tendons, and bones of your feet, but you’re shifting how your knees, hips, and back carry that weight as well. It can even cause pain and discomfort as far up as the neck and shoulders because of the change in posture.

While wearing high heels everyday is strongly discouraged by any podiatrist, treat them like dessert–indulge yourself now and then and be sure to care for your feet in between, making up for any discomfort that high heels may have caused (foot massage, anyone?). Explore your options and utilize McKinney Podiatric Associates, P.A. for advice on how high heels will impact your foot health. Contact or call us today at (713) 946-1500 to schedule your next appointment with Dr. McKinney and associates at one of our 8 convenient locations in the Houston area and surrounding towns.