Ask any woman about wearing high heels and she will probably tell you about some degree of pain she has experienced in her feet, ankles, knees, hips or back from these heels that seem to grow taller and narrower every year. While this style of shoe may be all the rage, the impact they make on your body reason enough to want to sit down.
Here’s how high heel shoes affect different parts of your body:
- FEET: Wearing high heels shifts much of your body mass onto the balls of your feet and the small, delicate bones in your toes, and the higher the heel, the bigger the impact. This shift of mass forward to your toes causes a deviation in the normal heel-to-toe gait mechanics and also affects your stride. Wearing this type of shoe all the time could lead to nerve and/or bone damage in your feet.
- ANKLES/CALVES: Heels force the ankle into a forward bent position, a movement that could restrict circulation in your lower extremities. Walking in heels also causes tightness of your Achilles tendon causing your calf muscle to become stiff. Over time, regular wearers of heels can develop chronically taut ankle and calf tendons, making walking (even in flats) painful.
- KNEES: Frequent high heel causes increased stress on the medial sides of the knees, which accelerates the normal wear and tear that leads to osteoarthritis.
- HIPS & BACK: To keep upright while wearing high heels, you have to arch the lower back forward, which pushes the hips and spine out of alignment and causes increased stress on the erector spinae muscles of the back and muscles, tendons and ligaments surrounds the hip joints.
If you wear heels or pumps one day, try to alternate with flats the next in order to give your body a break from the added stress these types of shoes cause; or save your heels for special nights out, and try to avoid walking in heels for longer than a few hours at a time.