Runners risk more foot problems if they wear heels

Published: 2012-03-09 10:40:25

 Runners who wear high heels may be at a greater risk for foot, knee and back injury.

Podiatrist Rodney Stuck of Loyola University Health System said high heels are the leading cause of ingrown toenails, or onychocryptosis. But for runners, the physical problems of wearing high-heels can be worsened and lead to even more severe problems than the average high-heels wearer because of additional strain.

“If I wear heels all day and then I go running I can actually feel the bones in my foot stretching out afterwards because they’ve been compressed all day,” said Katie West, 27, a student living in the Loop. “It hurts around the balls of my feet and I’ve noticed I’ve started to get a bunion from wearing pointy-toed heels.”

High heels may lead to many physical problems, including lower back pain and hip soreness, osteoarthritis, hammertoes, plantar fasciitis, dislocated toes, calluses, joint pain, bunions and sprained ankles.

 “While running I feel the impact more after I wear heels,” West said. “I notice a lot of pain my calves and knees from I think wearing heels and not stretching as much as I should before I go running.”

West runs between two and three times weekly and said she has stopped wearing heels in an effort to reduce the pain in his knees and lower back. Another runner agreed with West, that it’s easier to avoid wearing heels altogether than to endure the pain they cause.