Q: My mom has several toes that are painful and crossed under. She says that I should not wear high heels because that is what caused her problem. Is this true or am I just doomed to have my mom’s feet when I get older?
A: High heels are identified as a major cause for toes crossing or becoming stuck in a bent position, called hammer toe. Shoes with a narrow toe box or shoes that place an excessive amount of force across the base of your toes can cause hyperextension of the toe joints (bending past their normal range) and a stretching and tearing of the ligaments surrounding the toe joint. Genetics does play a small role, but is not as big of a factor as shoe choice. Wearing a flatter shoe with a wide toe box can help prevent problems with your feet in the future.