All women love heels. We just seem to look better in them and, really, who can resist rocking such a stylish pair of shoes? Maybe that’s why, according to the American Osteopathic Association, one in 10 women wear high heels at least three days a week. Approximately 30% of women wear heels daily for work, while others save them for special occasions like parties or weddings. This is despite the fact that most say that these shoes do hurt their feet, even after only wearing them in the short-term.
By now, most women realize that there are serious health concerns with wearing high heels on a regular basis. Many women, however, ignore these concerns in favor of a style or a great look. They can’t really be that bad for you, right? Wrong.
High Heels Affect Your Body The Second You Walk In Them
High heels make your body think that you are walking on a ramp. It throws your way of walking off the mark and your muscles become tense to keep your balance. This makes you tire easier and leaves you vulnerable to muscle strains. It also puts additional pressure on the balls of your feet, and the higher the heel, the more intense the pressure. High heels force your back and hips out of alignment as well. These problems occur with just one wear, and it gets worse over time. Wearing heels long-term can cause serious, permanent health issues. What follows are some of the most significant issues you could develop by wearing high heels.
Because you are forcing your foot downward when you wear heels, your toes are squished toward the bottom of the shoe. This pushes your toes into unnatural shapes and redistributes your weight abnormally. This problem increases with higher heels. This can result in various serious conditions, from in-grown toenails to nerve damage in your toes and foot.
Wearing heels on a long-term basis can eventually shorten the muscles in your lower back and calves. This can result in chronic pain and muscle spasms. The Achilles tendon is especially prone to shortening, and that can actually prompt you to feel pain if you try to switch back to flat shoes.
High heels can cause long-term, serious problems in your back as well. They could promote spondylolisthesis, which occurs when vertebrae slip forward over one another. If wearing high heels causes the condition, it is most commonly experienced in the lower back.
Wearing heels long term can also cause foraminal stenosis. This nerve condition is known for shooting pains that originate in the lower back. Numbness, tingling, weakness, cramping, and spasms are also common for someone who has this condition.
Your ankles and knees have to work overtime when you wear heels. This type of wear and tear can cause long-term damage as well. In fact, high heels may even promote premature osteoporosis in the knee.
Reducing The Impact Of High Heels
Some women have made the decision to cut high heels from their wardrobe, while others are not ready to take such drastic measures. There are some slight changes that you can make to minimize the damage high heels cause, even if you cannot give them up completely. They include:
- Avoiding wearing heels that are over two inches high
- Only wear heels for a short period of time
- Stretch out before and after wearing heels
- Avoid pointed toe heels
- Avoid wearing heels daily; switch up your shoe choice regularly
- Engage in strength training and balance drills
The best way to eliminate high heel damage is to stay away from wearing heels altogether. However, if you must wear them, these tips will help you avoid long-term problems from regularly wearing high heels. Style is never worth long-term health problems, so be sure to think about what really matters every time you slip on those heels!