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Those five-inch stilettos look so beautiful on their plain white pedestal in the store window. You know exactly what dress they’d be perfect for, but what you don’t know might hurt you.

Sprains, foot aches, blisters, ankle injuries, hammertoes and other long term damage can be caused by wearing shoes with heels that are too high. Podiatrists say wearing high-heeled shoes puts too much pressure on the balls of your feet and your lower back. Calluses and corns are the least of a stiletto-wearing fashionista’s problems. Constant pressure on the feet can result in the thickening of tissue around the nerves in toes and cause pain, stinging and numbness in the toes. The taller the heel is the greater the risk of injury.

High heels make women feel taller, skinnier and sexier. Beyonce popping and bouncing across stage in six-inch heels that look more like weapons is enough to make any woman believe she can survive a few nights on the town in stilettos. Even though Beyonce has admitted she is killing her feet by dancing in stilettos, she never gets on stage without them. The high heel shoe will simply never go out of style, but there are ways to minimize fashion’s damage to your feet.

Go for a wedge or platform style. The wedge style distributes your weight evenly across a greater surface putting less pressure on the balls of your feet. Platforms minimize the relative distance of the sole of the foot to the ground. The height of the platform decreases the relative height of the heel.

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Have a pair of standby shoes. Instead of walking long distances in high heels wear a pair of flats or tennis shoes and change into your high heels when you arrive. If your feet start to hurt halfway through the night don’t be ashamed to slip back into those flats.


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