SUMMARY: Love to wear high heels every single day? Maybe it’s time to say good-bye to your favorite type of footwear. Find out how high heels can harm your feet and get the motivation you need to finally switch to more comfortable footwear.
Wherever you go, you’ll see women wearing high heels and stilettos. These types of shoes are popular and fashionable, making them a staple for some ladies. It makes them taller, prettier, and increases their confidence. Then again, wearing high heels comes with a price. It has harmful effects to your body, especially your foot, leg, and back. If you already have foot problems – like plantar fasciitis, bunions, hammer toes, or ingrown toenails – the problem can worsen if you regularly wear high heels.
Its Effects on the Body
The body’s center of gravity shifts forward whenever you stand on high heels. This affects the normal standing posture as the body attempts to make adjustments. A one-inch heel can tilt the body by about 10 degrees. If your body stays rigid and does not adjust, you will topple and fall forward. So for the body to maintain balance, postural adjustments are necessary when wearing high heels. These adjustments start from the toes all the way to your spine.
So what happens if you wear three-inch heels? Although they are more appealing than one-inch heels or flat shoes, they also cause more problems. Your toes curl and the arch of the foot gets raised and strained when you wear three-inch heels.
Wearing high heels gives the impression that your legs are slender and have good muscle tone. The knee also bends when you lift up the heel. To ensure that you keep a straight posture, tension is created in the muscles of the thigh. With a three-inch heel your pelvis tilts 10 to 15 degrees forward, creating an appealing curvature in your spine. They also make the buttocks appear larger.
Because of the effects of three-inch heels to the body, more women prefer it over one-inch heels. However, the postural adjustments that the body makes when you wear high heels has negative effects and will cause problems over time.
What High Heels Do to Your Foot
When you don’t wear any footwear, your heels and toes rest on the floor. The weight of your body is supported by the arch of the foot and equally distributed between the forefoot and hindfoot.
The arch is flexed when you wear three-inch heels. The ankle is also extended and the toes are curled up and locked in a hyperextended position as they attempt to grasp the floor and keep your balance. Furthermore, the straining and lifting of the arch causes weakening of the ligaments, causing it to fall over time.
High heels also shift your body weight away from the heel and towards the ball of foot. As a result your body weight is redistributed and the metatarsals of your forefoot end up supporting your weight. This eventually causes chronic overuse injuries, like bunions and thickening of the nerves.
High heels normally have narrow toe boxes, causing toes to get cramped up. The cramped forefoot bears most of your body weight, resulting in different toe deformities like bunions, hammer toes, and hallux valgus.
Your high heels can also cause shortening of the calf muscle and Achilles tendon. The higher the heel, the shorter the Achilles tendon will be. Significant changes can already happen in as short as six months. This is the primary cause of the pain felt by many women when they switch from their winter shoes to their flip-flops during spring. The shortened Achilles tendon and calf muscle get stretched, thereby causing pain when walking on their feet or when using low-heeled shoes.