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Achilles Tendonitis from Wearing High Heels

Q: High heels are my favorite fashion accessory but after we got our first snowstorm last week I had to switch to flats for safety's sake. Now my feet are killing me! I keep getting these sharp pains that shoot up the backs of my heels. Why does it hurt when I wear my sensible shoes and boots?

Dr. Donnica:
It sounds like your feet and ankles may have adjusted to the high heels. Now your tendons in the back of your ankle may have shortened from prolonged high heel wearing and switching to flats may have caused inflammation from sudden stretching. To begin with, you can use over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (Advil, Naprosen, Motrin) for pain relief so long as your doctor hasn't told you not to take these drugs.

Continue to wear sensible shoes to navigate slippery surfaces. You can change once inside into mid-height heels to ease transition. Stretching exercises for your ankle tendons will also help. You can try this one for starters: Stand straight with your hands against a wall. Keeping your heels flat on the floor, slowly bend both knees. You should feel the stretch in the lower part of your leg. Hold the stretch for 10 to 15 seconds. Repeat the stretch 6 to 8 times. Heel toe stretches are also very helpful. To avoid this situation in the future, wear sensible shoes as much as possible and reserve your high heels for the moments that matter.

Created: 10/29/2005  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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