High heel shoes can cause a number of foot problems, yet most women aren’t willing to give their shoes the boot, according to podiatrists at Loyola University Health System (LUHS). Ingrown toenails are among the most common problems that result from high heels. This condition, also known as onychocryptosis, occurs when the toes compress together making the big toenails grow into the skin.

High heels and tight-fitting or pointed-toe shoes create chronic pressure on the big toenails and prevent them from growing properly. Additionally, shoe pressure can cause the nail to puncture the skin leading to infection. Other causes can include trauma to the nail or fungal infections.

“Ingrown toenails can be painful, but many women are willing to cope with the discomfort in order to continue wearing their high heels,” said Rodney Stuck, DPM, professor of Podiatry Medicine, LUHS. “However, more serious complications can arise and cause permanent damage to the toenail, if they are left untreated.”

Dr. Stuck encourages women who wear heels to take these steps to manage ingrown toenails and prevent infection:

•Cut out a cardboard tracing of each foot and attempt to place it in the shoe when shopping for a new pair. If it does not fit, then the shoes are too narrow;
•Refrain from wearing tight hosiery;
•Limit the amount of time in heels;
•Wear heels on days that require limited walking or standing;
•Trim toenails straight across the top;
•Short soak of feet in lukewarm, soapy water or Epsom salts;
•Dry feet and toes thoroughly with a clean towel;
•Use a mild antiseptic solution on the toes.

If pain, swelling and discharge develop, the toe is likely infected. It will need to be treated by a podiatrist who may remove a portion of the affected nail to aid in treating the infection. If the condition recurs or persists, permanent removal of the nail can be accomplished with a minor, in-office surgical procedure.

Dr. Stuck warns that people with diabetes should be particularly careful of ingrown toenails. These individuals may have poor circulation, which makes healing difficult. They also may be more susceptible to nerve damage from their diabetes, which can prevent them from feeling pain in their feet.  “If diabetic women do not feel discomfort, they may neglect to treat the ingrown toenails until it is too late,” Dr. Stuck said. “If ignored, this condition, which is easily treatable, can lead to an amputation.”

In general, if you give your feet the attention they need, they will look and feel healthy. A bit of extra care will allow women who prefer fashionable high heels to continue to wear them.

©2012 Newswise

Source: Loyola University Health System



I do agree with the information shared in your article. high heels are truly not beneficial if worn for too long time or frequently. Regards,

Good tips for wearing high heel shoes. It's also important to use comfort shoe inserts with high heels.

One thing that a women can do to take some stress off her back is switch between wearing high heels and flats. This way her body has a chance to recover.

High heels can cause a lot of problems if women wear them too often. If you think about it, it makes total sense. High heels are not intended to be comfortable or healing. They're been to be stylish and sexy. If you wear high heels often, your chances of developing frequent foot and heel pain are high.

I am completely agree with you points and i want to add that it is in-natural thing. Human foot is straight therefore you should use those shoe that have straight surface. Women should avoid these kinds of fashions can be cause of health problems.

Thanks for the article, nice and clear. I started wearing heels at 12 years old and my lower back pain hit me years later. I wouldn't advocate completely flat shoes the muscles in the legs need a little bit of a heel in between wearing high heels. I am NOW wearing high heels again but only special occasions and wear a mid court shoe. My back thanks me for it every day!

great post about lower back pain and heel wearing after my back pain incident I am wearing heels again as I love them but only on special occasions

I am a little confused why she would do a very painful thing for the sake of beauty or elegance, this obviously dangerous thing to wear high heels.

The effect of wearing high heels is not just limited to the feet, I have seen countless chronic lower back pain patients in which there problems can be traced back to wearing heels on a regular bases.

It is true that many women wear high heels no matter if they feel alright with them or not but high heels can cause so many problems and that's why I stopped wearing them. Why would I cause myself health problems just because others think I am more beautiful in a given way?

Statistics show that improper shoes cause a very high percentages of foot disorders including bunions,ankle sprains and trauma related injuries. High heel shoes with narrow toe space are the number one causes for bunions. Great informing article, thanks.

I always have that ingrown toenails whenever I wear tight shoes. Though I love high heels I can only have this problem if I stay on wearing it for long hours.

High heels are good for the sophisticated look, but most women wear high heels because they like to be that little bit taller. It's suprising to see how many women will walk around in pain just wear a pair of high heels! Kind regards,

i love to wear high heels.but..Some time problems come with wearing high heels a lot are they can stretch out women’s feet...give 10-15min. massage yor feet..

Thanks for this post. My wife always has problems wearing high-heeled shoes. I would like to show her this post to help her.