The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

How Mariah Carey’s High Heel Pain Landed Her in a Wheelchair

Posted by on Monday, March 28th, 2016


At first glance, the video of pop star Mariah Carey being wheeled around Caesars Palace to her show at the Colosseum seemed like nothing more than “a diva being a diva.” Why walk, when you can ride, right? However, TMZ reported that the rolling chair was devised by her staff as a solution to high heel pain. Sources say she plans “on making a more permanent bedazzled ‘throne’ so she can be fab AND pain-free.'”

high heel pain
You need not settle for a wheelchair in treating high heel pain. (Image Source:

Celebrities and Foot Pain

So much time spent in heels inevitably takes a terrible toll on celebrity feet. While we all imagine the lifestyles of the rich and famous to be glamorous and easy, living in high heels can be fraught with misery: former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham went in for bunion surgery thanks to pain from wearing high heel, Angelina Jolie reportedly uses orthotics to deal with flat foot problems, and Sex and the City star Sarah Jessica Parker formed an extra bone in her foot to account for wearing high heels  a rare condition known as Accessory Navicular Syndrome. Countless celebs — like Today’s Savannah Guthrie  have taken a tumble and twisted ankles or broken bones due to parading around in heels.

Podiatrists Offer Solutions to High Heel Pain

Our recommendation? Only wear heels when you absolutely have to. Wear trainers or flats and swap into your formal shoes when the occasion commands it. We meet with many NYC professionals who find it hard to part with their favorite pair of stilettos, but they acknowledge that their choice in footwear is doing a number on their feet and ankles. Our NYC podiatrists can let you know about new brands of fashionable-yet-comfy heels (like Kenneth Cole’s Gentle Souls) or about after-market products (like Foot Petals) that make heels more wearable. Sometimes it’s just a matter of switching to a rounder toe box or slightly less-high incline,.

In-office treatments include injections for pain, treatment with topical salves to soothe irritation, and extracorporeal shockwave therapy to stimulate soft-tissue injury healing, to name a few. And you don’t have to feel bad about trading in your heels for a flatter shoe: many of the top shoe designers are focusing on “flat and functional” shoes now.

If you’re one of those people who only wears heels in moderation but still suffers from foot pain, your problem could be in wearing the wrong size shoe. Studies have shown that up to 8 in 10 adults are wearing shoes that are too narrow for their foot type. As we get older, some of the tendons in our feet relax, allowing the foot to become wider or even longer, so many people are cramming their feet into sizes that are off by as much as 1.5 sizes.

If you’re not sure if you’re wearing the right-sized shoes, you can always stop in at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine for a professional sizing. We also have gait analysis equipment that can check for changes in walking or running patterns caused by foot abnormalities, incorrect shoe size, and shoe type.

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Ways to Offload Foot Injuries

While we find it amazing that Mariah would opt to bedazzle her wheelchair throne rather than wear a more comfortable shoe or see a specialist to address the cause of her suffering, we do commend her for at least having the sense to offload the pressure. If you know you need to “take a load off” your aching feet, you’ll be happy to know there are many more options than just renting a wheelchair. The Step Lite Easy Strider brace or the Air CAM walking boot are great products you can use to minimize pressure as you recover from a foot injury, be it plantar fasciitis heel pain, tendonitis, a fracture, or a foot ulcer.

Remember, no online advice substitutes the personalized care you receive from a specialist. Contact us to schedule a consultation with a board-certified podiatrist and sports medicine doctor at our Manhattan or Westchester offices.



If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.