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High heels: A pain in the foot

fashion and trends Updated: Mar 01, 2012 02:35 IST
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It’s known that wearing high heels can cause long-term harm to a woman’s body. Now, a new study has claimed that these fashion footwears are also one of the most common causes of painful ingrown toenails. They occur when the toes are compressed too much forcing the toenail to grow into the skin. Sometimes, it can become infected, necessitating the removal of the entire nail, the researchers said.

“Ingrown toenails can be painful, but many women are willing to cope with the discomfort in order to continue wearing their high heels,” said study author Rodney Stuck, a professor of chiropody at the Loyola University Health System.

The researchers suggested avoiding overly pointy, tight shoes and tight hosiery; trimming the toenails straight across can also reduce the risk of ingrown nails. Soaking the feet in lukewarm, soapy water, drying them thoroughly and then applying a mild antiseptic can prevent infection if toenails are already ingrown, they advised.

But, they said, high heels can harm more than just the toes. According to a 2010 study, dancing in heels distributes pressure toward the toes that can lead to plantar fasciitis, the painful swelling of the bottom of the feet. Flip-flops also, with their total lack of support, can change the gait, too, the researchers said.