Women Consider Surgery To Wear High-Heel Shoes

PITTSBURGH -- Would you have surgery in order to fit into a pair of high-fashion, high-heel shoes?

Some women are doing just that.

Women Consider Surgery To Wear High-Heel Shoes
High-Heel, Narrow Toe Shoes Can Permanently Deform Feet

The trend began in New York and Los Angeles, and is rippling across the country.

From high-fashion models on the runways in Paris, to the hallways of Pittsburgh, women love shoes and want to wear the hottest style, no matter how uncomfortable they may be.

And to look good, women are squeezing their feet into shoes with high, high heels and pointy toes.

Dr. Stephen Conti, an Allegheny General Hospital foot and ankle specialist, said that wearing these kind of shoes long enough can permanently and painfully deform feet.

When the shoe doesn't fit, some women turn to surgery.

A recent survey found 9 percent of patients having cosmetic foot surgery had it in order to wear certain shoes.

The surgery involves making an incision and removing the bone from the outside toe.

This should make wearing narrow-toed shoes more comfortable.

But it doesn't always work.

Forty-eight percent of people who had cosmetic foot surgery said it did not make it easier to wear the shoe.

And 69 percent still couldn't wear high heels.

If surgery isn't for you, but you really want to wear high heels with narrow toes, Conti says you really shouldn’t wear a heel higher than 1 1/2 inches. If you just have to wear those high, high heels and narrow-toed shoes he suggests you try this:

1. Save the use of your high-heeled shoes for functions in which you will not be on your feet for extended periods of time, and use a 2-inch, not a 4-inch, heel.

2. Take your designer shoes to a podiatrist to have them custom fit to your feet. They may be able to stretch the toe box to better accommodate your feet.

3. Try wearing a larger size shoe than usual and insert heel cups into the backs for a better or more comfortable fit.

4. Use a spacer between the great and second toe.

5. Wear open-toe shoes instead of a similarly styled heel that causes discomfort in your toes.

Conti also said the higher the heel the more pressure on the ball of the foot, which can result in pain and long-lasting foot problems. Here is how high-heels affect the ball of the foot.

1-inch heel: 22 percent increase pressure
2-inch heel: 57 percent increase pressure
3-inch heel: 76 percent increase pressure

Conti said that to keep your feet healthy, wear shoes with heels no higher than 1 1/2 inches and shoes with a rounded toe box.

To tell if your shoe fits properly, trace your bare foot, then put your shoe over the outline.

If the shoe doesn't cover the outline, it's not a proper fit.

Click here to view photos of damage caused by wearing high heel, narrow toe shoes.

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