How Do Heels Affect Our Feet?

For as long as we can remember, heels have been a big part of fashion and culture. They come in many styles, heights, and colors, and can represent a person’s unique style. Despite the common knowledge that they are not the most comfortable shoes, people still opt for heels for work, outings, and special occasions. The real question is, how bad are they for our feet?
If you compare the position of your feet when standing in flat shoes versus in heels, it’s not surprising that they negatively impact some parts of your foot.

When you are wearing heels, the weight of your body sits towards the front part of your foot, compared to spreading the weight throughout your foot. This excessive pressure on the forefoot can lead to problems like thinning foot pads, bunions, calluses, neuromas, nail problems, and skin issues.

The persistent unnatural alignment of your entire body can lead to joint damage not only in your feet and ankles, but also your knees, pelvis, and spine. Prolonged wearing of high heels can contribute to joint problems like arthritis.

Achilles tendon
Even with a low heel height, your achilles tendon is constantly compressed, which can lead to problems like achilles tendinitis, inflammation, stiffness, and pain.

The constant weight on the forefoot can lead to nerve pain, especially between the toes. Neuromas, which are benign growths of nerves, can form and lead to tingling, burning, pain, and inflammation.
Unfortunately, these damaging effects of high heels often do not prevent people from continuing to wear them. While ditching them completely may not be realistic, there are some ways to minimize the pain and effects of wearing them.

●Don’t wear them for more than 3 hours - If your workplace, outing, or special occasion requires wearing heels, then switch footwear once you get to your location. It will make for a much more comfortable commute!
●Stretch your legs - Your foot endures a lot from being in a compressed, unnatural position, so be sure to stretch your toes, achilles, and calf before and after to relax and lengthen them.
●Lower the height - Each inch in height of the heel makes a big difference on your foot health and risk of injury. Choose a lower height, and increase the size of the heel. If you still want the height, opt for platform options that raise the height of the entire shoe.  
●Widen the toe box - One of the most problematic areas of heels is that they often have pointed toe boxes that literally squeeze the toes together. Choose a rounder, wider toe box shape to decrease the risks of developing bunions and other foot deformities.

Take care of your feet
How you treat your feet can impact not just your foot health but also the rest of your body. Increase the longevity and health of your feet by making shoe decisions that benefit your feet and lower risks of developing problems like arthritis, tendinitis, and foot deformities down the line. If you have questions about the best footwear or orthotics for your individual feet, or you experience foot or ankle pain, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with our team of dedicated podiatrists at Step Lively Foot and Ankle Centers. Contact any of our offices in Gahanna, Columbus, Dublin, Pickerington, OH today!

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