Women repeatedly complain of toe pain in high heels. But how does the pain arise and what can be done about it?
It’s no secret that high heels are not particularly healthy for the feet. Orthopaedists repeatedly point out that high shoes not only lead to annoying toe and foot pain but also promote permanent foot damage and foot misalignments. The wrong foot position is also the cause of painful toes and, if the pain symptoms persist, it is often a warning of impending damage.
Why do the toes hurt in high heels?
Our foot has a natural shape, which is given by the anatomical alignment of the foot and toe bones. Numerous nerves and muscles run along with these bones, coordinating our locomotion and providing sensory care to the feet. In traditional Chinese medicine, as in Ayurveda, the feet are also of great importance in terms of energy. Here the soles of the feet are seen as a mirror image of the body, with individual areas of the sole each representing a body organ. According to this view, organ complaints can be positively influenced by targeted foot reflex zone massages. Careful treatment of the feet is also important so that damage to the foot does not lead to impaired organ functions.
According to the teaching of foot reflexology, the acupressure points of the ears, eyes, nose, sinuses, and brain are located in the toes. Accordingly, the tips of the feet are particularly sensitive and react immediately to any incorrect load. And this is exactly where the problem lies with running in high heels. Normally, our body weight is evenly distributed over the entire foot when we stand and walk. However, this natural weight distribution is no longer given in high heels. Raising the heel shifts the weight load to the front end of the metatarsal bone and the toes that adjoin it. In addition, the area is unnaturally bent by the characteristic shoe shape of heels, which can cause circulatory disorders. In addition, there is an extremely narrow toe.
All of these factors contribute to the development of toe pain in high heels. This can even go so far that a so-called Morton’s neuralgia develops in the toe area. Chronic pain syndrome is caused by compression of the plantar nerves in the metatarsal area, with wearing high heels being one of the most common causes. In the event of permanent incorrect loading, there is also a risk of foot and toe deformations such as hallux valgus. This is a misalignment of the big toe, which goes back to disturbed biomechanics of the foot.
What to do with toe pain in heels?
If you do not want to do without your high heels despite the risks mentioned, you should at least take a few precautionary measures to keep the pain and damage potential within limits. For example, there are orthopedic high heels that, thanks to special padding, enable better weight distribution on the toes and heels.
Another trick that is recommended time and time again is to stick your toes together while wearing high heels. However, this must not happen indiscriminately but must take place at certain points. More precisely, it’s the third and fourth toes that stick together to reduce the potential for pain. The plantar nerves flow between them, which can cause massive pain symptoms when wearing high heels. By fixing the surrounding toes, however, the nerves are no longer spread apart by walking in high shoes, which can prevent pain.
Despite these measures, it is advisable to limit the time you wear your pumps in order to give your feet enough time to relax in between. It can’t hurt if you treat your feet and toes to a few pampering wellness sessions on a regular basis. You can, for example, from a soothing foot bath with healing foot herbs such as:
The herbs have a pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory, calming, and blood circulation-promoting effect on the foot, which can relieve pain and prevent disease processes. Massages and acupressure treatments such as the foot reflex zone massage mentioned at the beginning are also beneficial for the toes and feet. In addition, a masseur or foot reflexologist can even detect problematic developments in the foot in good time by palpating the feet before they get worse. In this context, a routine check with an orthopedic surgeon is recommended if you regularly wear high heels. If necessary, he can give you further tips on foot health or make walking in pumps more comfortable with professional insoles.
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