If you thought that you were safe from foot problems by wearing flats instead of high heels, sorry think again! Unfortunately, flats are not always the better alternative to high heels.
The reasons that high heels get a bad reputation are for the following: narrow toe boxes, too much pressure on the front of the feet, no heel and arch support, no cushioning. The muscles, ligaments, and tendons in your feet all work overtime to stand and walk. The resulting injuries can include plantar fasciitis and/or Achilles tendinitis.
So you might think that wearing flats would be the solution to your foot problem woes. You might think they have different characteristics, but they are actually very similar in many ways:
● Narrow toe boxes – Both flats and high heels tend to have narrow toe boxes so that they stay tightly on the feet. However, this means that your toes are usually bent out of shape, which can ultimately cause or worsen deformities. Problems include: bunions and hammertoes.
● Lack of heel support – Typically, neither type of shoe has enough support in the arch or heels. Some high heels might have a hard heel counter to stabilize the back of the foot. However, they also tend to be too hard and can cause irritation to the back of the heel, especially if there is no heel cup to keep the heel steady.
● Lack of arch support – Both usually do not have any type of arch support. Those of you with flat feet can experience worsening symptoms with flats or high heels as they force feet into positions that strain the soft tissues in the bottom of the feet. Flats, especially, can lead to (worsening of) overpronation too.
● Lack of cushioning in the inner sole – Because the shoes are usually meant to be worn tightly, most do not have much padding. This means that there is no cushion to the impact from walking. Wearing high heels can lead to metatarsalgia, while wearing flats can cause bone spurs and plantar fasciitis.
● Tightness can cause blisters – A lack of structural support and laces or straps mean that the shoes have to be tighter to stay on the feet. The irritation from the tight shoes can cause blisters on the skin, and will probably make you not want to wear the shoes very often.
But fret not! This doesn’t mean that you must throw away all your flats and high heels. Instead, you might consider using orthotics to make your shoes more supportive. If you have experienced painful symptoms from flats or high heels, make an appointment with us at The Podiatry Group to find the best treatment. Foot doctor Dr. Mark E. Reiner and his team can help you at our Jonesboro, AR office.