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Hazards of wearing high heels

Medikoe Wellness Expert

Medikoe Wellness Expert

  80 feet road indira nagar, Bengaluru     Jan 4, 2022

   7 min     



Footwear, a part of your outfit, refers to garments worn on the feet, which typically protect against environmental distresses such as ground textures and temperature. Therefore, footwear in shoes primarily serves to ease locomotion or movement and prevent injuries. However, another function of footwear is to enhance one's appearance. Footwear is also chosen according to the occasion—shoes for working out, block heels to go with formals and sneakers for casual wear.  High heels, however, are trendy among young girls and women. As appealing as they make the legs appear, they're equally harmful. 

Did you know the first-ever high heel ever worn was by a military officer? People in West Asia had been colossal horse riders, and that's the manner in which they fought. They rode in the saddle and stood up to shoot their bows, and that meant that you needed a heel to keep you in the stirrups, lovely and stable. Queen Elizabeth started wearing them to appear more manly. But it's a little bit later on in the early 1600s that heels began coming in, and it began with blokes for being masculine and butch. But what happened quite quickly was, women started to emulate the male fashion, and part of that was they began wearing men's shoes. Later in the 1800s, men were advised to wear sensible shoes, and heels didn't seem like the best choice, and so later in the 1860s, women's heels started to become popular. And that was how the influx of heels as women's fashion began.  

Ever since high heels have gained popularity and are a must-have in every other girl's closet, high heels are worn by women to look taller and highlight the calf muscles. However, this beautifying accessory comes at a cost. High heels have numerous side effects on the body.

Below are a few listed harmful effects of wearing high heels

High heels can cause sprains

High heels are recommended to be worn only on even surfaces, especially in India, where potholes, bumps and maintenance holes can potentially be a killjoy waiting for you to fall and sprain your ankle. Apart from the ankle sprain, a fall can also lead to fractures and bruises. You might even suffer a concussion if you end up landing in an awkward position. Stilettos are unadvisable for daily use. Wear them occasionally if you wish to give in to your footwear fetish. 

Arthritis can be caused by wearing high heels

The compensation your feet and legs face while standing or walking in heels can contribute to the wear and tear of joints, causing arthritis. The cartilage in these joints tends to wear down much sooner. It's a point to keep in mind while heels are worn. 

Harmful effects of high heels on feet

High-heeled shoes mostly have a narrow toe box, which compresses the toes. There is already excessive pressure caused on the toes and the ball of the foot. Women (especially with broad feet )who regularly wear narrow, high-heeled shoes are more likely to develop foot structure problems like bunions than women who wear flat shoes. They are also exposed to conditions like Metatarsalgia, Morton's Neuroma, and hammertoes.

Change in walking style caused by high heels

Because your centre of gravity changes, it makes sense that you might walk differently as well. If you wear for too long and often, your muscles and tendons adapt to you standing or moving differently, so there will be effects on the Achilles, calf muscle, and hamstrings. Then, when you return to 'normal' shoes and a 'normal' gait (proper extension of the foot, Achilles, calf, and hamstring), that's precisely when you get hit with an injury.

Does wearing high heels affect pregnancy?

During pregnancy, a woman's body undergoes numerous changes. She has to monitor every action to protect the baby and herself. 

In times like these, clothing and footwear have to serve the ultimate purpose of comfort. Wearing footwear like heels can be tricky in such times. 

A study found that 25 per cent of pregnant women experienced a fall at least once in pregnancy. If flats aren't preferable, steady shoes with a lower and broader heel might keep your feet stable and increase your safety throughout pregnancy.

During pregnancy, the ligaments in your feet will be looser due to a hormone called relaxin. The hormone helps your ligaments relax while it makes birthing easier. The challenge, however, is that this leads to joint instability and muscle strain. This means your feet might have to bear the brunt, and balancing yourself in high heels will not seem as easy. 

You may find your feet grow bigger post-pregnancy and that you need a larger shoe size because of the relaxin hormone, which causes the bones in your feet to spread. Even on your best pre-pregnancy days, you would've noticed that your hips, back, and legs are sore after wearing heels—Pelvic, back, and hip discomfort increases. Pregnancy amplifies backaches and round ligament pains by impacting your body's natural calibration, which may mean you're swerving your back more than you usually do.

To help stop your back from swerving uncomfortably, opt for shoes that are more supportive through the foot arch and the ones that give you some additional padding when the heel of your foot strikes the ground; it doesn't cause discomfort to the rest of your body.

Does wearing high heels increase your hip size?

Your hips have to move forward to compensate for the extra pressure in the balls of your feet, just like your knees. Since your hips play a significant part in any leg movement you do (running, cycling or walking), this can lead to pain outside of your hips, including your inner butt, thighs and groin. Your hips also have dominion over your entire posture, so when they're out of line, so is your entire spine. This can even lead to neck pain and more significant problems in the future. 

Does wearing high heels affect your lower back?

 High heels do not give complete support to your feet. They cause an unequal distribution of weight that may trigger soreness, inflammation and pain in the lower back. The standard C-curve shape of the back is meant to play the role of a shock absorber, reducing the weight-bearing stress on the vertebrae and pelvis. High heels cause the lumbar spine of the low back to flatten while forcing the thoracic spine of the mid-back into a hyper-curved position.

The abysmal alignment will invariably lead to the overuse of the back muscles and increase the risk of chronic back pain. 

What effects do high heels have on posture?

High heels cause a drastic change in the posture of a woman. Your chest and lower back are pushed forward, taking the hips and spine out of alignment, and excess pressure is placed on the knees. 

Curing the high heel craze:

  • Do a few calves, hamstring and foot stretch after being in your heels for a long time
  • Do a foot soak to reduce inflammation
  • Wear heels ranging from Three cms-five cms high

Types of heels best for regular use

  • Kitten heel: The perfect type of heel that is plenty walkable for city-style and those “on-the-go”, kitten heels feel both feminine and relaxed with everything from jeans and t-shirts to midi dresses and power suits.  
  • Block heels: Block heels are another staple when it comes to comfort. Along with the added convenience of a block heel, balance is also beneficial. Forget walking on stilts all day and possibly twisting your ankle.
  • Wedges: Wedges are chunky heels thought to be the most supportive and, therefore, the most comfortable. If comfort is vital, avoid shoes with a thinner and higher heel in favour of those that are easier to walk in.

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Tags:  General Health ,High heels, lifestyle, foot pain, ankle pain

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