The Dangers Of High Heels - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

The Dangers Of High Heels

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If you're a slave to fashion, the shoes you wear could be putting your feet in jeopardy.

Sometimes for women, dressing up can downright hurt. So why endure the pain from pumps?

"I think just because they look cute, I mean you know, girls want to look cute," one woman said.

To explain why high heels hurt, we spoke to Dr. Bertil Smith, who talks to women about foot pain daily.

"The most common complaint is a bunion deformity, which is a bony prominence on the inside part of the foot," Dr. Smith said.

Using x-rays, Dr. Smith, an orthopedic foot and ankle surgeon with UCSD Medical Center, showed us how high heel shoes force bones to squeeze together, and toes to slant into odd angles.

"You can see how wide the foot is normally, and in the x-ray here we can see significant stress placed on the toes," Dr. Smith said.

Too much stress placed on the big toe can create a bunion. When pain becomes disabling, it can lead to a bunionectomy, where that bone bump is cut away and the big toe is surgically realigned.

To avoid foot problems, the doctor suggests choosing comfort over style. If you have to wear high heels, try not to stand in them for longer than 30 minutes and don't walk farther than necessary.

If you can't live without them, doctors recommend a shorter heel, and instead of an enclosed tight toe box, think about wearing an open-ended shoe.

Every year, 200,000 bunionectomies are performed in the U.S., a surgery that can both be costly and require a two-month recovery period.
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