Podiatrist says developing osteoarthritis not always due to wearing high heels, could be genetic

By @vitthernandez on
High Heels
The shoes of actress Cynthia Nixon are pictured as she poses during a photocall to promote the movie A Quiet Passion at the Berlinale International Film Festival in Berlin February 14, 2016. Reuters/Stefanie Loos

Several high-profile women gave up high heels, giving the stiletto a bad rap. Victoria Beckham is refusing to wear heels when working, while Sarah Jessica Parker, who wore Manolo Blahniks for the character she played in “Sex and the City,” has been wearing flats since 2013.

In shifting to flats, Parker says she was concerned with her feet’s health. Andrew Gladstone, a podiatrist at the City Chiropody & Podiatry, a clinic chain based in London, agrees with the two celebrities on the damaging effect of high heels on women’s feet. Among the impact are corns on toes, between the toes, hard skin on the foot sole, worsened state of bunions, damaged and thickened toenails, alters shape of feet, affects knees and hips and food function later in life, reports Business Insider.

UK’s National Health Service (NHS) had warned women from wearing heels that are 3 ½ inches high and above because it could strain knee joints and cause osteoarthritis. The basis of the NHS warning is a study, published in the Journal of Orthopaedic Research, made by researchers of Stanford University.

However, in some women, they may not experience these medical issues, Gladstone says. He explains it depends on the foot shape which is a genetic thing. “That’s determined in the womb as to whether someone can get away wearing high heels or not,” notes the foot expert, adding that “Some people can wear high heels all day with no problems.”

But for those not genetically blessed to enduring wearing stilettoes the whole day, Gladstone advises them to look at the shoe area around the toes that could be the source of damage, even in flats. Knowing one’s heels is the right height is usually determined if the woman could walk comfortably in heels.

While advocating wearing the right shoe for the right occasion, especially when it comes to long walks, Gladstone reminds women – which also applies to men – to “Listen to your feet – if they hurt, then they probably need to come off!”

Barefoot A model stands barefoot backstage before presenting the collection of Marina Hoermanseder at the Berlin Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2016 in Berlin, Germany, January 21, 2016.  Reuters/Fabrizio Bensch

Meanwhile, for people who suffer from plantar fasciitis, a heel pain due to inflammation of a band of tissue, one new procedure that could provide them relief is Tenex or percutaneous tenotomy which involves a doctor making a quarter-inch cut on the heel and then, using ultrasound, inserts a hollow ultrasonic needle into the bad tissue, reports Fox.

The needle, which is connected to a machine that is turned on, moves back and forth with high frequency and bathes the area in saline to remove diseased tendon tissue at the insertion site. The tissue and the saline comes out into a bag. While the needle promotes blood flow for healing, it does not happen immediately, according to Dr Zachary Collins of the University of Kansas Hospital, Indian Creek Campus who treated Courtney Knipp, a Kansas woman suffering from plantar fasciitis.