Women love heels and they have been a staple in shoes stores for decades. There is nothing like a pair of killer heels to make you feel put-together, confident and sexy as hell. But this confidence comes with a cost of suffering.
Why does High Heels Cause Pain?
Your body’s bones, muscle and tendons are designed to function in a specific way to help you walk, run, and stand comfortably. Your feet are beautifully designed to distribute weight and absorb shock. Also, everything in your body is connected, so when one area is disrupted, others also suffer.
Here’s how it works. The plantar fascia along the bottom of your foot connects to your calf muscle which connects to your hamstring. Your hamstring attaches to your pelvis and lower back. So when you wear high heels, everything from your feet to your back is tight. Additionally, wearing heels forces you to walk on the balls of your feet. This shifts your center of gravity to the front and makes you arch your back when you stand. It’s important to note that the higher the heels, the greater the strain on the body and the greater the negative consequences. This pressure on the spine can cause pain—from neck to back to foot. The combination of these two factors combine to cause back pain and even discomfort in your shoulders and neck.
Dangers of Wearing High Heels.
Unlike other types of shoes, heels lack any significant shock absorption. What’s more, wearing heels also stops your foot from naturally rotating as you walk, since they’re forced into a straight and unbending position. This causes the knee to absorb the brunt of every step, which can lead to severe joint pain and an exacerbation of arthritis symptoms, according to the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Your ankle also absorbs some of the shocks as well, so don’t be surprised if a long day in heels leaves your joints feeling stiff and sore.
When you push your feet into too-tight shoes or shoes that force your feet into unnatural shapes (such as pointy-toe shoes), you create pressure on the sides of your feet and toes. Over time, the rubbing and pushing from your favorite heels can lead to a hardening of the skin. It may not be a big deal in the winter, but come summer, you might be too embarrassed to don your strappy sandals when your feet are riddled with callouses.
Shortened Achilles Tendon:
This might be one of the more worrying side effects of wearing heels: According to Live Science, women who wear heels over a long period of their lives actually shorten their Achilles tendon. With the heel in the lifted position, heels can actually create a physiological change in the muscles and tendons around the ankles. That means, when barefoot or wearing flats and shoes that cause the heel to reach the ground, the wearer can feel immense pain and stretching.
Lower Back Pain:
Wearing heels causes a shift in the foundation of the entire body, changing your balance. The feet slide forward, increasing the weight on the balls of the feet, increasing the arch in the lower back. , putting strain on your lumbar spine, hips and knees. This pressure on the spine can cause pain—from neck to back to foot—and result in sciatica. With sciatica, nerves become trapped, triggering pain and numbness down the legs to the feet.
Falling and Sprained Ankles
When you wear flats, your weight is spread evenly between the ball of your foot and the heel, with little pressure on your ankle. Unfortunately, heels cause such an imbalance between the heel and the ball that the ankle is forced to become the fulcrum for your entire body. And, since ankles aren’t built to take that kind of pressure, falls and twisted or sprained ankles can be pretty common. It’s nearly impossible to perfectly balance, especially in very high heels, so any bump in the pavement can feel like a 10-foot wall when you’re trying to scale it in your favorite pumps.
High Heels Solutions:
Heels may not be the healthiest choice for your feet, but you don’t have to rule them out altogether. Take some precautions and you can still gain a few inches without suffering major consequences.
- Avoid wearing high heels for long periods of time
- Try and Set your limits to 2 inches
- Stretch leg muscles before and after putting them on
- Buy shoes in the afternoon when your feet are at its largest
- Don’t go for the pointed toe
- Buy a wide variety of shoes and vary your footwear day to day
- Opt the shoes with leather insole to prevent foot slippage
BEST EXERCISES to prevent PAIN
Here are 6 exercises that any high heels lover should know about to prevent pain.
- Ankle Pump
- Bilateral heel raise
- Calf stretch with knee extended
- Hamstring stretch
- Foot roll on golf ball
- Toe curl
- Supine chin tuck