Why One Foot Doctor Does Not Discourage Heels

So often, the new patient visiting my podiatric practice looks at me and says, “Wow, I want to wear shoes like that.” I love fashion. Shoes, in my opinion, are the quintessential feminine accessory.  Apparently, I’m not alone. The American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) surveyed 503 women about their propensity to prancing in pumps. Listed is what they found:

  • 72% of women wear high heels

    • 39% wear them daily

    • 33% wear them less often

  • 58% of women purchased high-heeled shoes in the past year

  • 82% wear them for style

  • 73% wear them to complete their professional attire

  • 54% wear them to look sexier and more attractive

  • 48% wear them to enhance the look of the legs

  • 39% wear them to appear taller

They also reported that 59% reported toe pain, and 54% complain of pain in the ball of the foot, as a direct result of the indulgence. 

Most patients that come into my office are women. Moreover, an even greater percentage of the ladies I see wear high heels. I see countless, high-powered professionals who view sporting stilettos comparable to a man wearing a tie. Even ladies who have professions that may not require boardroom attire will still elect to be dressed in some type of elevated foot gear on a weekly basis.

All of the reasons why women choose to adorn their feet in pumps are aesthetically related. Naturally, beauty breeds confidence and self-assurance begets success. This culture, which I wittingly partake in, is precisely the reason why I do not discourage the use of heels. What I do advise is they wear them in moderation. As a New Yorker, I do not advocate pounding the NYC pavement day in and out in a pair of heels. Likewise, I would not recommend an all-day trek in completely flat shoes, because they, too, can be equally harmful to the feet.  What I propose is always tagalong a safety shoe; a shoe, not too flat, that is comfortable to wear all day long, yet still compliments one’s attire.  Ladies should also be mindful of how long they are standing in their pumps. I instruct patients to change out of their heels every two to four hours to reduce toe and ball-of-foot pain. I also stress women choose shoes wisely. A shoe design that may be tolerable for one foot type can be unbearable for another foot type. Most importantly, proper fit is crucial. Ladies should not get caught up in size because shoe size is not a constant. European designers tend to construct shoes with a shorter cut, so women may have to “size up” when in fact they are just wearing their correct shoe size.

As a top podiatrist and woman, I often remind my patients and followers, “I understand what it’s like to walk in your shoes.” That is why I aim to provide excellent podiatry and foot surgical services, and dole reasonable advice when it comes foot health care. Wear high heels with responsibility, and feel empowered and beautiful.