You may have heard that wearing high heels constantly isn’t good for your back, or perhaps you read our blog about shoes from a few months back. Much research has gone into the constant wearing of high heels and all the impacts it has on the body. Let’s take a look at some statistics before we dive in:
- One in ten women wears high heeled shoes at least three days a week, with over 70% of women wearing them at least sometimes.
- About a third of regular wearers have fallen while wearing heels.
- Wearing high heels consistently is one of the biggest causes of foot problems in women.
- About a third of high heel aficionados will suffer permanent damage from their shoe habits.
Problems Caused by High Heels
Because your feet are literally the foundation for your entire body, their health is incredibly important. Wearing heels above 2 inches will force your feet to slide down and forward, essentially squishing your toes and putting unnatural pressure on them. This can cause bunions, ingrown toenails, nerve damage, and even tendon damage in the legs.
Additionally, when your weight is pushed forward to the front of your feet, your body is forced to compensate for being slightly off-balance. Your body will naturally tilt forward which results in you intentionally leaning backward, arching your back. This unnatural posture will create huge amounts of tension in your spine, but it will also strain your hips and knees. With your spine in this strange position, nerves in the back are compressed, which can lead to pain and even sciatica.
Chronic pain is another big concern when it comes to the consistent wearing of high heels. When you wear heels regularly, your body begins to adapt to the unnatural body position that they cause. The muscles in your calves will shorten and the muscles in your lower back will tighten, causing pain throughout your entire lower body. When your Achilles tendon (located in the back of your heel) is used to wearing heels, it may shorten so much that it is painful to flatten your foot and stretch that tendon.
In addition, recurring high heel wearing can bring about heel pain, deformed toenails, sprains, and even stress fractures.
How to Improve Foot and Spine Health
If you are an avid wearer of the highest heels, here at Greater Life Chiropractic, we urge you to reconsider your shoe selection. You don’t have to give them up completely, but you can make some positive changes to improve your overall health and minimize your risk of dealing with shoe-related issues in the future.
First, trade in your highest heels or save them only for extra-special events. Don’t wear them when you have to walk or stand a lot. Next, mix up your shoe choices throughout the week and even the day. Switching between heels and comfortable tennis shoes during the day can be helpful, and wearing flats more often than you wear heels can be beneficial as well. If you must wear heels, try to choose ones with a lower heel (less than 2 inches) and a wider toe area. Opt out of pointy toes or too-narrow shoes that squish your feet. Go for a wider heel that offers more support, and put some comfy insoles in them to give your back, hips, and knees more cushion.
You should also be sure to stretch your lips, hips, feet, and back daily, as that can help with pain and discomfort caused by high heels. You should also visit Charlotte chiropractor Dr. Grant Lisetor to make sure your spine is properly aligned and your body function is on point. Contact Dr. Grant and his team at Greater Life Chiropractic today to learn more about optimizing your health, improving your wellness, and how chiropractic can benefit you.
“How High Heels Affect Your Body.” The Spine Health Institute. https://www.thespinehealthinstitute.com/news-room/health-blog/how-high-heels-affect-your-body
Papa, J.A. “Conservative management of Achilles Tendinopathy: a case report.” Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association, 2012 Sep; 56(3): 216–224. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3430455/.