Dr. Kevin Yip

Dr Kevin Yip
Orthopaedic Surgeon
MBBS(UK), FRCS(EDIN), FAM(SING), FHKCOS(ORTHO)

Featured on Channel NewsAsia

Heels problem

1. What are the various problems which heel wearing can cause? Is it limited to the feet or body too?

Heels and pain are sides of the same coin. No doubt that woman look great in high heels, however there are many orthopaedic problems associated with this.

Most of the women suffer form foot pain after walking for too long with high heels. Because of high heels the entire pressure of body is concentrated on the front of the feet. If this happens for a longer time it can cause foot problem.

Condition: Plantar Fasciitis

Cause: Repetitive stretching and tearing causes the fascia to become irritated or inflamed.

Long term and short term effect on health: One can have difficulty with prolong walking and standing. Difficulty in walking may also increase chances of losing balance and falling while walking.

Precaution: Maintaining a healthy weight minimizes the stress on the plantar fascia and choosing supportive shoes by avoiding high heels and buy shoes with a low to moderate heel, good arch support and shock absorbency. Do not go barefoot, especially on hard surfaces.

Cure: About 90 percent of people who suffer from plantar fasciitis recover with conservative treatments in just a few months. Anti-inflammatory drugs may ease pain and inflammation, although they do not treat the underlying problem. Shockwave therapy is a good form of treatment for this condition.

Condition: Bunion and Hallux Valgus

Cause: Bunion are generally hereditary but wearing footwear that is too tight or causing toes to be squeezed together is undoubtedly the main contributing factor for the cause of bunions and hallux valgus.

Long term and short term effect on health: One will experience painful at the area where the bump is.

Precaution: Wearing comfortable footwear which does not put too much pressure on the foot will certainly reduce the bunion to be getting worse.

Cure: The treatment of a bunion depends entirely on how uncomfortable it is. The initial goal of treatment option goal of treatment options is to relieve pressure on the bunion and any symptoms that may be present and to halt or slow the progression of the joint deformity. There is no effective way of getting rid a bunion without surgery.

Condition: Ingrown toe nail

Cause: Ingrown toe nail can be caused by tight-fitting shoes or high heels causing the toes to be compressed together and pressurize the nail to grow abnormally. Improper trimming of toenails can also cause the corners of the nail to dig into the skin. Disorders such as fungal infections of the nail can also cause a thickened or widened toenail to develop.

Long term and short term effect on health: One will experience painful on the toe and the nail usually infected.

Precaution: The best method of prevention is careful clipping of the toenails. Toenails should be clipped straight across and taking care to keep the end longer than the skin edge. This prevents the corners from digging into the skin. They should not be rounded or cut too short. Wearing well-fitting shoes helps as well.

Cure: Mild ingrown toenails may be treated with conservative measures like warm daily soaks, topical antibiotics, and gently pushing back the piece of overgrown skin away from the nail. More advanced ingrown toenails may require treatment with oral antibiotics. Resistant or recurrent cases of ingrown toenails may require a minor in-office procedure. Surgical procedures aim to remove the embedded nail from the toe tissue.

2. How do you define a good pair of heels? And what sets a bad pair of heels and good one apart? What difference in foot health can that make?

Definition of a good pair of heels: The heels must be in a good soft material, good support and comfortable while wearing. A bad pair of heels causes pain to the foot and a lot of pressure that may lead to leg cramp. Long term of wearing heels may affect the blood flow to the leg as well.

3. Are heels really all bad? Ideally, how long should the interval be?

All high heels counter the natural functionality of the foot, which can create skeleton/muscular problems if they are worn excessively. Ideally, one should rest the foot after wearing for 2-3 hours interval.

4. Woman love stilettos but it has received a lot of bad press. Is it really terrible for the feet? Are all flats good then? What feature must it possessed to be a really good pair? How flat is too flat?

Stiletto heels concentrate a large amount of force into a small area. The great pressure transmitted through such a heel can cause damage to carpets and floors. The stiletto heel will also sink into soft ground, making it impractical for outdoor wear on grass.

Flats are not all good also. Good flats must provide some cushion to the surface of the foot. The harden material of flats may cause pain on the foot especially during prolong walking or standing.

5. What is the ideal height of heels? If we need to go higher, are platform heels or wedges or thicker heels more ideal?

It is difficult to judge the ideal height of heels. It depends on the comfortable level of each individual. For the medical term, we suggested the lowest is the best for health and safety if one would like to wear the heels.

6. What are the many misconceptions surrounding foot care and heel wearing? What are the truths?

Foot care does not mean avoid wearing heels only, it also involves with wearing comfortable footwear regardless it is flats. Choosing the right footwear and doing some regular stretching exercise will definitely maintain a good foot care.

7. Clever and innovative tips/gadgets/innovative products available to make heel wearing a less painful experience.

Choose the right heels will make heels wearing a less painful experience. Right heels mean correct size, comfortable material and provide good support and cushioning to the foot.

8. More tips to care for your feet

Always wear shoes that fit well and wear the proper shoes for each activity, not wearing shoes with excessive or unevenly worn heels or soles, and stretch the heel well before exercising.

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