How High Heels Damage The Body & How To Prevent It

High heels are a great way to complete an outfit, with infinite styles and designs we can be sure that there will never be a shortage to choose from. However, wearers should be reminded that heels can be quite damaging to the body. Besides the fact that high heels can leave your feet throbbing in pain, after many years of regular use you will see a negative change in your ankles, knees, hips and spine as well as the state of your feet.

It has been said by podiatrists that women experience four times more foot related problems than their male counterparts which is put down to high heels. These shoes place the foot in an angle that forces your weight onto the balls of your feet pulling muscles and joints out of alignment, this causes lower back, shoulder and neck pain due to the shoes disrupting the natural form of the body.

Unfortunately, the damage heels cause to the body doesn’t stop at pain alone, if used daily or over a prolonged period of time Spondylolisthesis can occur which is when one vertebra slips over another. This happens from overarching of the lower back which is a result of wearing heels. In addition to this, stress is put on the knees, tendons in the leg can thicken & calf muscles can shorten and tighten. 

Regular wearers of high heels can also develop a spinal injury called Foraminal Stenosis, this is when the spaces the nerves travel through to exit the spinal column become blocked which then causes numbness, shooting pains, cramping, muscle weakness and spasms in the glutes and legs.

Further issues caused by wearing high heels consist of:

  • Sciatica
  • Scoliosis (abnormal curvature of the spine)
  • Osteoarthritis in the knees
  • Damaged leg tendons
  • Ingrown toenails
  • Pinched nerves
  • Muscle spasms 
  • Postural issues

With this in mind, high heels should definitely be worn with caution and wearers should be conscious of what they can do to prevent the above problems. We understand that it is unlikely that high heels will never be worn again, luckily there are a number of methods you can implement to combat the negative effects:

  • Opt for a regular shoe that allows your foot to sit in a natural position, not too flat and not overly angled.
  • Avoid wearing high heels everyday or for excessive hours each time, 3-4 hours max.
  • Keep the heel size to 2 inches.
  • Avoid the pointed toe, rounded or square shapes are better.
  • Remember to stretch & mobilise your legs, feet and ankles before and after each wear.
  • Massage your feet before and after each wear.
  • Buy heels in the late afternoon, this is when your feet are biggest.
  • Have a variety of footwear to choose from day to day.
  • Choose thicker, wider heels instead of stilettos.
  • Opt for platforms as opposed to thin soles.
  • Make sure there is enough coverage on top of your foot to maintain stability.

If you feel you have developed an injury or are experiencing pain due to wearing high heels, be sure to book in your complimentary consultation so we can get you on the road to recovery.

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