71% of women who own high heels experience pain when wearing them, according to the American Podiatric Medical Association. But it`s not just your feet that can be affected negatively. Other body parts can also be affected, and it can lead to more serious health issues.
When you`re wearing high heels, your body has to keep its balance. In order to do that, your lower back gets pushed forward, and the alignment of your hips and spine changes. Your hip flexors have to be constantly flexed to maintain balance. And if you wear high heels often and for long periods of time, it can cause these muscles to shorten and contract. That, in turn, can lead to hip pain.
Your weight shifts toward the balls of your feet when you`re wearing high heels. Because of that, your knees need to move forward to maintain balance, which puts extra pressure on them. This can cause osteoarthritis. Common symptoms include joint pain, stiffness, and limited range of motion.
Normally your spine has a gentle curvature to it. This allows it to reduce the stress from your body’s movement. When you`re wearing high heels, the curve in your lower back becomes exaggerated, and the alignment of your spine shifts. This can cause muscle overuse and back pain.
Anatomical changes in your spine can lead to a number of health issues. For example, there`s a possibility of developing a spinal nerve condition called foraminal stenosis. It can cause pain, muscle weakness, spasms, and cramping.
Bonus: High heels can also cause foot issues.
- Bunions. Pointy high-heels cram your toes together in a very tight space. This causes your big toe to lean toward the second toe, and that creates a bunion, a bump on the side of your big toe. And while bunions are thought to be genetic, you can still develop them or make them worse if you have certain conditions, e.g. flat feet, and wear high heels a lot.
- Achilles tendonitis. Wearing high heels can cause your ankle joints to have limited motion and power. It can also cause the Achilles tendon to contract where it attaches to the heel bone. That can lead to insertional Achilles tendonitis, a type of tendon inflammation. Some of the symptoms include pain at the back of the heels, swelling, and limited range of motion when you flex your foot.
- Hammer toe. Another condition that can be caused by wearing tight, pointy high-heels is hammer toe. When your toes are crammed together, they start to curl downward. Over time, this condition can become painful and make you unable to flex your toes.
- Corns and calluses. The pressure that wearing high heels puts on your feet can lead to corns and calluses. Especially if your shoes are tight, because that causes extra friction. They are usually painless, but they can become painful and even infected.
- Morton’s neuroma. Because of the increased pressure on your foot, the nerves there can become compressed and irritated. As a result, the nerve leading to the toes can thicken and become painful.
- Plantar fasciitis. Wearing tight shoes can also lead to this condition. It occurs when the plantar fascia, a tissue that connects your heel bone to your toes, gets inflamed or irritated. This tissue supports the arch of your foot and acts as a shock absorber. So when it`s damaged, you can have pain, stiffness, and swelling in your heel.
How often do you wear high heels? Have you noticed how they affect your body? Please share your thoughts in the comments|