The Lowdown on High Heels

Damage and Danger of High Heels

Research over the years has suggested that there is real damage and danger in wearing high heeled shoes over long periods of time.

Not only has it been proven that pain in the back of the foot and the bottom of the foot can become chronic in nature such as plantar fasciitis or heel spur pain, but also pain in the forefoot can develop such as pinched nerve, bunion pain discomfort and toe discomfort.

A real danger lies in the abnormal effect that high heeled shoes place on women at the knee joint. It has been shown that there is increased risk of knee osteoarthritis in women who wear high heeled shoes on a constant basis.

It has also been shown that even moderately high heels 1.5″ in height significantly increase knee torks considered relevant to the development of progression of osteo arthrtitis in the knee. The American Society of Biomechanics found that the descending stairs in a high heeled foot wear decreases torks at the knee a considerable amount to produce compression forces that increases the risk of arthritis in the knee.

There is also a lack of shock absorption to the whole body when wearing high heeled shoes.

In addition to the height of the heel it is also noted that some of the front of the shoe shape is triangular while the foot is more of a trapezoid.

With this exposure over a number of years the foot squeezed into a shoe that is triangular in front is a mismatch and this adds huge deformity forces on the front of the foot. These deformities forces can irritate underlying hereditary conditions such as bunion deformities, hammertoe and nerve problems.

In addition, the 3″ heel has been demonstrated to put 7 times the force that a 1″ heel does through the front of the foot.

What is a woman to do?
Like everything in life moderation in the wearing of high heeled shoes seems to be the best answer. Some helpful hints to decrease your chances of leg, foot and heel problems when wearing high heeled shoes are as follows.

  1. Limit your time of wear in high heeled shoes.

    1. Have a pair of commuter shoes or comfortable shoes around to switch into if you know you are going to do a lot of walking and traveling around during the day.

    2. Avoid a sling back high heeled shoe as they do not give you any heel control or heel support.

    3. Do exercises to strengthen the small muscles of the foot. You may find them here on our website.

    4. In addition you must do stretching exercises of the hamstrings and of calf muscles while exercising and strengthening the muscles of the front of your leg. These exercises are found on our website.

    5. Wear protective insoles. These can both cushion your foot and transfer weight off the balls of your foot down to the arch and continue to keep the heel cushioned as well. You may ask about those here in our office.

So There You Have It

Good old fashion common sense can keep you out of trouble and allow you to wear those wonderful shoes that you want to wear. One additional tip, if you can find the high heeled shoe with a wider base and with a cushioned heel you will be much better off and much more comfortable.