High heels have been part of fashion culture since ancient times. Originally, they were military shoes. But lately, they have evolved into fashion statements for people to show their strut. They may be stylish and popular, but they can affect your health.
Feet play an important role in mobility and maintaining balance and posture. Heels can lead to imbalance, poor posture, and increased risk of injury. High heels can also lead to nearly permanent foot problems. You may look like a model, but wearing them always may not be worth it.
Side effects of wearing high heels
1. They ruin posture
High heels are like walking on your toes the whole day. They put your feet in plantarflexed position— downward extended, which increases pressure on the balls of your feet. In addition, the lower body leans forward, and the upper body has to compensate and lean back. The body becomes misaligned.
Studies show heels reduce posture control and mobility when higher than 1.5 inches. But users with more experience have better control and reduce the risk of falling.
High shoes can lead to chronic strain on your feet. Because of the heel design, more weight is put on the toes, the balls of your feet, and the middle joints. This can lead to pain in your joints, known as metatarsalgia. It also increases the risk of stress fractures, tears in the tendons, and stiffness.
3. Heel pain
Going up on your toes shortens your Achilles tendon, a tissue that controls motion. It’s found below the knee to the ankle. Wearing high shoes excessively shortens the Achilles tendon. This leads to heel pain and the arches of your feet.
Wearing heels can also lead to Haglund’s deformity. This is a bony swelling on the back of your heel from constant rubbing from the shoe.
4. Toe injuries
Some heels have a narrow pointed front edge. This puts your feet in an unnatural shape. Wearing them too frequently leads to claw toes, bunions, calluses, corns, or ingrown toenails.
This can also lead to an increased risk of arthritis. In addition, studies show that they can lead to osteoarthritis in the knee.
5. Back pain
The C-shape curve of the spine reduces the weight stress on the spinal column and pelvis. Heels cause the lumbar spine of the lower back to flatten and the thoracic spine into a bigger curve. Poor alignment can lead to chronic back pain.
They also put your hip flexor muscles, the muscles on the upper front of the thighs, in a permanent flex position. Contraction of these muscles leads to hip and back pains.
The higher the heel, the easier it is to roll your ankle. Balancing on your toes shortens your calf muscles. As you walk, this can make you lose control of your ankle. Frequent wearing of heels can also lead to tendonitis.
Read Also: Shoe Bites: Causes, Remedies And Prevention
How can you wear high heels safely?
The overall risk of injury from wearing heels is moderate. However, bunions, swellings, and foot pain can be avoided by restricting the use of heels. Only wear them on special occasions. When walking to work, wear comfortable shoes like flats or sandals, then carry your heels in your carry-on.
Read also: Health: Bunions – Causes, Symptoms, And Treatment
Occasionally take them off during the day and stretch your legs. This relaxes your feet and reduces the strain on your back, thighs, and hips.
When buying heels, choose a pair with insole support. If you have to wear stilettoes, stick to a lower height. Alternatively, you can opt for block heels, wedges, or platforms to support your toes, feet, and ankles more. Reduce the heels you wear with a pointed front end that squeeze your toes together.
Heels are a great way to complete an outfit, but if you’re in pain when you wear heels, you should stop wearing them for a while.
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