The Negative Effects of High Heels
Yes, they allow you to show off your funky personality, there seems to be a pair to match every outfit, and they are considered very fashionable, but those high heels are doing much more damage than good! In the long run, high heels are doing harm to not only your posture, but your ankles, knees, calves, Achilles tendons, and the balls of your feet as well. The higher the heel, the more pressure tends to be placed on the front of the foot. Over time, this can cause bruising and a variety of pain and damage to the body. For example, a three inch heel puts 76% more pressure on the front of the foot, a two inch heel places 57% and a one inch heel still places 22% most pressure on the front of the foot. Here is a breakdown of how high heels can be negatively effecting your health:
Posture: High heels tent to place the heels unnaturally above the toes, which in turn throws your entire body (that includes your hips, shoulders, back and spine) out of whack. Long term pain will be caused in the lower back and legs if high heels are frequently worn.
Ankle Injuries: Because high heels affect your balance, your chance of falling is significantly increased, causing broken, twisted and sprained ankles. This is especially true if you are older or overweight.
Pain in the Ball of your Foot: When you wear high heels and your body shifts forward, the pressure of your body weight lands directly onto the ball of the foot. This is how conditions like Metatarsalgia come into play. Metatarsalgia is chronic pain in the area of the foot right before the toes and is more common in older women.
Knee Pressure: Decreased balance while wearing heels throws the body forward and puts up to 26% more pressure on the inside of the knee. This can cause arthritis (a degenerative joint disease) in the knees.
Calf Problems: Muscles in the calf have the instinct to contract naturally when you walk in high heels. Excessive high heel use will cause your calf muscles to permanently shorten and tighten. This will cause pain in other places, such as the ball of your foot, knees, hip or back.
Achilles tendon Damage: When rocking those high heels, you are causing your Achilles tendon to shorten and tighten permanently. This will cause your Achilles tendon to become severely enflamed when wearing flat shoes (also known as tendinitis).
Hammertoes: High heels that don’t necessarily fit correctly can cause the toes to bunch up. The toes (most commonly the second toe) becomes misshaped and not able to straighten even in flat shoes.
Haglund’s Deformity: This bony mass becomes enlarged on the back of your heel when wearing straps that rub and irritate the heel.
Today is as good of a day as any to kick the heel wearing habit. It sounds more difficult than it is. Visit your Doctor of Chiropractic for ideas on more supportive (and maybe stills stylish!) shoes that will keep you healthier in the long run. If you are already starting to experience pain you may feel is correlated to wearing high heels, your Doctor of Chiropractic can examine your back and give adjustments accordingly for pain relief.