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High-heel nightmare; the painful price of fashion

Posted at 1:07 PM, Apr 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-30 06:23:15-04

PUMPS, stilettos — JUPITER, Fla. -- Women have had a long love affair with high heels.

Pumps, stilettos, ankle strap, wedges and sling backs.They look good but we've paid a terrible price. In fact, a growing number of shoe fanatics are heading to the doctor with complaints much more serious than tired tootsies.

Dora Garofalo is like many women. She loves her high heels. She says she has approximately 150 pairs of high heels, but admits looking good has come at a price. "When I got home at night, they would just be throbbing, but I would still wear them."

Dora knew what she wanted when she met with podiatrist Dr.Virginio Vena. She wanted surgery and quickly.

Dr. Vena is used to hearing that demand."The pain is to the point, they’ll come in here and say I want surgery, I don’t want any other option."

RELATED: Foot problems end Kelley Dunn's love affair with high heels

Dr. Vena says the need to feel fashionable in your favorite stilettos leads to a long list of painful problems."There are many possible complications including, but not limited to, ingrown toenails, bunion and hammertoes."

Hammertoes? In layman's terms it means your toes are not able to straighten out. And that’s not all. Experts say constant use of high heels can lead to muscle tears, knee problems, even hip issues.

"I’ve got patients who cry in here, says Dr. Vena, it can be very debilitating."

After surgery, Dora wasn’t crying anymore. In fact, just a few weeks later she was walking in heels and will continue to do so.

Surgery is often last resort. There are other options like orthotics, physical therapy and putting the foot in a boot to alleviate pressure. If none of that works, shoe lovers could face a grim "high heel less" reality.