Ultra-high heels look beautiful on Sarah Jessica Parker and her fellow Sex and the City 2 cast members, but the damage they can inflict on your feet can be ugly. Walking or standing at that angle on hard surfaces can put a strain on the balls of your feet, and eventually cause permanent deformities like hammer toes. “You’re transmitting tremendous force to the forefoot,” says Steven L. Haddad, M.D., associate professor of clinical orthopedic surgery at the University of Chicago. “The higher the heel, the more pressure and pain in the ball of the foot.”
The solution: You don't have to give up stilettos completely; just save the Manolo Blahniks for special occasions. Limit wear to a few hours, sit often, and go with a lower heel (2 1/4” or less) if you need to walk a lot. With sandal styles, the more straps, the better as they can hold your foot in place so you won’t wrench your ankle.