Can I Wear High Heels with Flat Feet?

First and foremost, we have to warn you about wearing high heels.  You already know high heels are treacherous. Walking around in them can cause ankle sprains and breaks; bunions, hammertoes, and stress fractures; as well as tendinitis, plantar fasciitis, and ligament damage.  Even more shocking, another study has found that the wearing of high heels can contribute to joint degeneration and knee osteoarthritis, which man help explain why osteoarthritis is twice as common in women as in men.

But you LOVE your high heels!  We know.  Additionally, some of you may have professional positions where you feel high heels are necessary to attain the perfect polished appearance.  However, there’s one group of women who need to be especially cautious when making a choice in footwear: those with flat feet.

There are two types of flat feet: flexible and rigid. Rigid Flatfeet are due to some type of abnormal foot development. This can be in the form or a congenital problem that the child is born with such as a vertical talus (convex pes valgus) or from an abnormal connection between bones in the foot that are not supposed to be connected (tarsal coalition). Rigid flatfeet are more serious than flexible flatfeet and are often painful and usually require treatment. We cannot and do notrecommend women with rigid flatfeet to wear high heels- your foot type simply cannot get into the posture and alignment necessary to wear high heels.

Flexible flatfoot differs from rigid flatfoot in that a rigid flatfoot is permanently fixed in the flat position. A flexible flatfoot is only made flat when weight is put onto the foot during standing or walking. If you’ve been diagnosed with flexible flatfeet and must wear heels, you can.  It’s recommended that you stay below 2 inches for heel height, which allows the popular and attractive options of kitten heels and more demure styles.  Balance training and strengthening exercises for feet are highly recommended, as well as shorter periods of heel wearing.  You’ll experience foot fatigue much sooner than those with normal arches, and prolonged periods of wearing heels can have a hugely negative impact on your foot health.  Custom orthotics are also recommended for those with flexible flatfoot, to help ensure your foot is in the correct posture and alignment when wearing heels.

Women with flat feet who are considering or spending substantial time in heels should schedule an appointment with Dr. Weinert for a foot evaluation and recommendation.  You can contact Weinert’s Warren office at 586-751-3338 or his Troy office at 248-362-3338. In addition you can visit Dr. Weinert on his office website at where you can request a free copy of his book Stop Feet Pain Fast.


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