High heels have been a fashion mainstay for hundreds of years, but as time passes, more and more doubts regarding their health impact are being raised. Any woman can tell you how much pain high heels may cause her feet at the end of a long night, but the damage goes well beyond that. In this blog, we’ll look at how wearing high heels can be bad for your feet, legs, back, and overall posture.
Our feet are obviously made to be flat on the earth. In the days before shoes, the various firmness and textures of the ground would have been enough to keep our feet in good shape, but now, inappropriate footwear can cause the form of our feet to change gradually over time. When we walk in high heels, it’s as if we’re going uphill, putting more pressure on the balls of our feet. This can cause both acute and long-term pain, known as metatarsalgia, in which the balls of the feet become inflamed and painful. Depending on the style of toe the shoes have, they can also press the toes into unpleasant positions, leading to issues such as bunions or hammertoe.
Wearing high heels also shifts your center of gravity, requiring your entire body to bend forward to compensate. This can result in a variety of issues, including calf muscle shortening and shin splints. Shin splints are an inflammation of the front of the tibia caused by the increased pressure and posture changes associated with wearing high heels. Examining the discomfort might help you determine if it is a shin splint and not something else, such as a stress fracture. Shin splints do not have a single point of discomfort, but rather a broad ache that runs down the legs below the knees. They hurt the most when you elevate your leg and flex your foot.
Excessive pressure and a forward lean can also create knee pain. When we walk, we don’t normally bend our knees every time our feet touch the ground. A 2014 study at Stanford discovered that the higher the heel, the more frequently the knee bends. This might cause short-term issues like discomfort and irritation, but heels taller than 3.5 inches can also cause accelerated aging and osteoarthritis.
As previously stated, when high heels shift your center of gravity and cause you to lean forward, your calf muscles can shorten. The same is true for the lower back muscles, which can produce muscle spasms and back pain. Back pain can be caused by our hips and spine no longer being in alignment, as well as changes in our walking patterns.
It’s apparent that the issues that high heels can cause extend far beyond our feet. Feet are like the foundation of a building, and even the smallest modification can damage everything put on top of them. But that doesn’t mean you should avoid wearing high heels at all costs. They are fine in moderation, as are so many other things in life. The issues come when people routinely wear heels higher than 3.5 inches, so choose your shoes properly and wear them seldom, and you should be able to avoid the most of the issues on this list.