High Heels: Why daily wear adds up to severe pain issues.

by Curt Donohue on October 2, 2010

Women have historically loved high heels; they arch your back, make you taller and make your legs look longer. Unfortunately, most women don’t think about the long term consequences of wearing high heels regularly, until it is too late.   Wearing high-heels on a regular basis can contribute to foot deformities and poor posture, both of which are the sources of many chronic pain issues that I find on my table.  When you wear a pair of heels, they elevate the heel, causing the calves to shorten, the butt to stick out, the low back to crunch, the shoulders to round, and straining in the neck.   Over time, your body relaxes into this imbalanced posture even when you do not wear heels. This can lead to more permanent postural imbalance issues and chronic pain in the knees, back and neck.  Regular massage and movement training (i.e. Yoga, Pilates, etc.) can counteract chronically held issues and help to retrain the body into better alignment.

Here is a picture of what heels can do to your posture.  In the left picture the calves, low back and neck have lengthened.  This provides a good foundation for the shoulders and head, and decreases strain in the muscles and joints.  Notice that the shoulders are back and the butt does not stick out as much.  The line throughout the body is straighter.  (Image via the Washington Post)

A recent study shows another problem from high-heels
A  report in the Journal of Experimental Biology that came out July 16th  has added another issue to the litany of problems that occur from the regular use of high-heels.  According to researchers in England, years of high-heel use can alter the anatomy of the lower leg, causing the calf muscles to contract and the Achilles tendon to thicken to the point that women cannot wear flats or sneakers without experiencing pain. To see a recent article of the study, and what heels can do to your feet, click here.
Not sure what the best footwear is for your feet? Here is a guide from the Americian Podiatric Medical Association (APMA). This helps you to learn about how to find proper footwear, and how to ensure proper fit

So shove those heels to the back of the closet and save them for only very special occasions, you are beautiful just the way you are.  Happy walking!

Previous post: