Here’s an interesting story about one Sarah Jessica Parker. You remember all those billboards featuring the star of Girls Just Want to Have Fun, Honeymoon in Vegas and that TV show that my wife watched obsessively with her exposed toes in high-heeled shoes. All that time we wondered what exactly were those expensive, and not so expensive pedal torture devices doing to her toes, potentially causing bunions, hammertoes, tendonitis and other foot and ankle pain? Well, it turns out so does she, and so do my NYC podiatry patients.
In an article in Radar, Sarah blamed her foot maladies on “cheap shoes”, and was told her feet are doing things they should not be doing. So is she another victim of high fashion?
As we have said many times in the past, there are many factors that lead to the formation of bunions, hammertoes, neuromas and heel pain. Most important among those is the one factor that cannot be controlled (yet): DNA. Yes, Sarah Jessica, it’s in your genes, and not the expensive designer kind. Our DNA is the blueprint that makes us who we are: eye color, body shape, strength, inheritance of disease. We can manipulate certain manifestations of our genetics with colored contacts, exercise, and lifestyle, but ultimately, as has been confirmed in scientific research, bunions are inherited in greater than 90% of cases. High heels may accelerate the progression, and will certainly make the deformity more symptomatic. But short of foot binding, it’s rather difficult to give one’s self a bunion, even in a cheap shoe. Multiple ankle sprains will create ankle instability, and a really tight shoe may accelerate the formation of a hammertoe, and will also make those nasty corns appear more quickly. But let’s not blame it all on the high heels – cheap or not. I see more problems from flat flats, than from heels. There are even conditions, such as plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, and other forms of foot and ankle tendonitis that are relieved by the use of high heels.
So, SJP, it’s not all the shoes. Just the same, maybe it’s time to switch to something sensible, perhaps with a custom orthotic?
See you in the office.
Dr. Ernest L. Isaacson