More Than Just Your Feet: 5 Things High Heels are Hurting

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It was Cinderella that said “one shoe can change your life”, but we don’t think wearing only one shoe would help your posture much, either. Dr. Grace Walker, physical and occupational therapist and nutritionist, can agree that the right shoe can change your life.

High heels have been one of the biggest trends in women’s fashion. For good reason to; we can’t deny what a beautiful pair of shoes can do! To anyone who has worn a pair of high heels and experienced the discomfort, it’s probably not much of a surprise how hard they can be on your body. They affect the lower extremities (feet, ankles and legs), and also a few other areas that might surprise you.

  • Ankles Injuries: First, let’s review what might be the most obvious. High heels are more prone to accidents. It’s hard to deny that when you’re walking on miniature stilts all day. The lack of surface area and balance in high heels make accidents more likely. A sprained ankle might be tangible, but did you know that knee and hip injuries are also possible? Since heels have very little support, recovering from a minor trip becomes a much more difficult task.
  • Deformities: The pointy shoe is cute and in style, but  you can’t say it’s comfortable. Shoes with a pointed toe cause issues such as hammer toe and bunions.
  • Heel Pressure: A three-inch heel raises pressure on the heel 75%. A one-inch heel raises heel pressure 22%. If you’re going to remain loyal to the oh-so-trendy heel, consider a pair that aren’t too high.
  • Muscle Shortening: Walking in high heels simulates walking up a hill. This causes an increased load on the calf and Achilles. Prolonged use causes the calf muscle to shorten and tighten to compensate. The result is increased stress along the plantar surface of the foot which can cause conditions such as plantar fasciitis.
  • Terrible Posture: While your posture might feel sexy and confident in those high heels, it’s probably too much. Normally the spine is an s-curve. This design is meant to act like a shock absorber. High heels drastically alter the curve in your back. The results in the chest being pushed out too far, the lower back being pushed forward (causing misalignment in the spine), and excess pressure on the knees.

If your body is starting to feel the effects of those heels, it might be time to give yourself a break! If you are committed to the heel-life, consider less height and work a calf stretch into you daily routine.

At Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center, we specialize in injuries from head to toe including balance and jaw pain. For a consultation from one of our expert physical therapist, call us at (714) 997-5518.


Walker Physical Therapy and Pain Center

1111 W. Town and Country Rd., Ste. 1

Orange, CA 92868

(714) 997-5518

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