Many women get used to wearing heels higher than two inches. The bigger the better is often the norm. But did you know that high heels are the leading factor of foot problems in women? Prolonged wear can result in permanent damage to your muscles, tendons and nerves. With one in ten women wearing high heels three or more times a week, that adds up to a lot of injuries and pain.
Before You Put Your Stilettos On, Consider The Following Points
- Anatomical changes can develop as a consequence of wearing high heels. Muscles in the calves and back shorten, which can lead to pain and muscle spasms. Achilles tendon is the structure that is often affected in women who are regularly wearing high heels. This is due to the heel being in an unnatural position – it’s pointed upwards, which tightens it up, and consequently shortens the tendon.
- You force the body into a position that can over time damage your knees, hips and lower back (and here are otherhabits that quietly damage your knees). When you wear heels, the body tilts forward to compensate for the unnatural feet position, and the back then over-arches backwards. This creates a strain.
- The changed position of the spine can put pressure on the nerves and cause sciatica – a nerve entrapment, which is an extremely painful condition. You can refer to the post about 8 natural treatments for sciatic pain if you suffer from sciatic pain.
- When you wear high heels, the distribution of your body weight changes. At first, the body can again adopt its natural position after the heels are removed. However, over time, the unhealthy patterns can persist even when you take the shoes off.
Natalie A. Nevins, an osteopathic physician from Hollywood, who specializes in family medicine, osteopathic manipulative medicine, and neuromusculoskeletal medicine, warns that long-term wear of high heels has been linked to overworked or injured leg muscles, osteoarthritis of the knee, plantar fasciitis and low back pain.
How To Reduce The Damage Caused By High Heels
If you want to continue wearing your shoes with high heels, there are things you can do to reduce the damage:
- Go for shoes with lower heels – an inch and a half or less.
- It’s best to choose wide heels which give you a wider base of support and spread the body weight more evenly.
- Use soft insoles. This will reduce the strain on your knees.
- Make sure your shoes are the right size. Many women wear shoes that are too small for them. You should be able to wriggle your toes freely inside the toe box.
- On the days when you wear your heels, limit walking and standing. Or take with you a spare pair of flat shoes so you can alternate between the two and give your feet a break.
- Do some stretching of your feet and calf muscles every day to prevent permanent damage. You can stand on the edge of a step with your shoes off and your heels hanging off the edge. Do a movement where you stretch your heels down and put the weight on the front of your foot.
- Follow these exercises to improve your posture.
- Follow these 13 exercises to strengthen your back.
All in all, be kind to your feet and give them some credit for all the hard work they do throughout your life. It’s not all about fashion and style.