The Jakarta Post
A pair of high heels (Shutterstock/agrofruti)
Eliza Carbonell blames her love of high heels for her development of what is called big toe arthritis, a condition that can cause a lot of pain. Even years later, after receiving treatment, the pain is still present and she has problems moving her big toe.
“I see these beautiful young women destroying their feet.” said Carbonell, who had to undergo surgery due to her constant use of high heels, according to CBS Miami.
“I wouldn’t want other women to suffer the way I have. The issues that come along later in life aren’t worth it, it’s really not worth it,” Carbonell was quoted as saying.
Doctors warn their patients against the dangers of wearing high heels, despite most women owning at least one pair.
“The type of walking hinders you in other ways,” Carbonell explained, adding that alongside the pain in her big toe, it causes lower back problems, all due to the posture heels cause and how they force you to walk; lest you fall over.
City life can also be taxing for high-heel-wearing women, depending on where they need to walk.
Carbonell opted for surgery to relieve her pain, which unfortunately led to further problems that required three more surgical operations. She limped when she walked, and was traumatized by how badly the surgery went--which ended with her toe joint being unintentionally fused, making it completely immovable and causing her great pain.
“I guess I was very vain when I was younger and I was always in high heels, to the point where I would go to school in heels, go to university in high heels, go to work in high heels,” Carbonell said.
“It’s this area [pointing at the first joint of the big toe] that is particularly affected by this. That’s when we really start talking to the patients about adjusting shoe wear,” said Amiethab Aiyer, foot and ankle orthopedic surgeon and orthopedic surgeon with University of Miami Health System.
Aiyer is currently using the new Cartiva implant in surgeries for big toe arthritis, if changing footwear from heels to something else does not alleviate the condition. Cartiva implants are made from the same material used to make contact lenses. They are durable, slippery and behave similarly to cartilage.
“The advantage with the Cartiva is the pain relief lasts for close to five years.” Aiyer explained, “People get between five and seven degrees more motion at the end of the surgery.”
Most of the 2 million people across the United States alone suffering from big toe arthritis are women, and the condition can occur to varying degrees and pain.
“[Doctor Aiyer] recommended I do this joint fusion and the technology is nowhere,” Carbonell said.
“Depending on the stage of the disease has really sort of dictated how we treat this.” Doctor Aiyer explained, “With lower stages or earlier grades, predominantly when there is a big bone spur on the top, you can make an incision on to the top of the big toe and remove the bone spur all the way to actually gluing the join shut and fusing the toe when it’s really bad arthritis.”
Carbonell said her right toe was still swollen, but she was overall pleased with the surgery results. She now wears flat shoes and tries to warn others about the pain she suffered. (acr/mut)