Women have known for years that high heels are not good for their feet, and most will not deny that they can be extremely uncomfortable. Still, high heels remain an important fashion piece! It is understandable that women choose to wear heels, but it is also important to realize the potential damage that high heels can cause to your feet. You may very well be underestimating the damage that high heels can cause, beyond just having sore feet. The truth is the human foot is not designed to withstand wearing high heels excessively, and continuing to do so can cause great harm to your feet.
According to the American Osteopathic Association, 1 out of every 3 women are left to face permanent foot damage due to excessively wearing high heels, which is also the leading cause of foot pain in women1. Common issues that result from excessively wearing high heels are calluses, bunions, hammer toes, nerve pain, ingrown toenails, stress fractures, corns, lower back pain, and possibly the worse of them all: a shortened Achilles tendon. Excessively wearing high heels can, over time, shorten the muscles in your calves and in your back, which can later lead to back and leg pain as well as muscle spasms1. This long term abuse can cause these symptoms to persist even when you are not wearing high heels and can sometimes only be corrected with surgery1.
High heels are not designed with the shape of your foot in mind but rather a particular image/style. This disregard for foot mechanics can (and often does) result in footwear that, while stylish, results in damage to the foot. Then there are those who suffer from pre-existing foot conditions that are left untreated and worsen over time. High heels do no favors here, and often exacerbate the pre-existing problems. To make matters even worse, when wearing high heels, the pressure and weight of the entire body is placed on the ball of the feet and held in a unpleasant position instead of the weight being evenly distributed across the whole foot, such as when wearing flats or tennis shoes. Ideally, it is best to wear a lower and wider heel for better weight distribution as well as prevent your body from leaning forward and creating a stain on your lower back.