A pair of high heels is a common fashion accessory for many women, but studies have revealed that wearing high heels can take a serious toll on our feet. High-heeled shoes can cause a plethora of foot problems while impairing stability and increasing the risk of injury. Leg, back, and foot pain are among some of the more common complaints. Long-term use can even cause structural changes in the foot itself, leading to bunions, hammertoe, and other conditions that may require surgical correction.

In addition to injury, high heels place excessive stress on the back and lower extremities that can profoundly affect posture, gait, and balance. The effect on our posture is amplified the higher the heels get. Even among experienced wearers, extra-high stilettos will force the body to lower the center of gravity at the hips, causing an unnatural curvature in the lower back. If wearing extra-high stilettos, women will often have a lumbered, giraffe-like gait, particularly if their backs, knees, and calves don't the strength to compensate for the imbalance.

How heels affect different parts of our body

Spine – Walking in high heels causes our spine to sway unnaturally, and stresses our lumbar erector spine muscle, leading to a sore lower back.

Knee – Heels put extra weight on the inner side of the knees and knee joints, leading to the risk of twisting injuries to the knees.

Feet – Heels cause our body mass to be shifted onto the balls of our feet.  Apart from bunions, blisters and calluses, this uneven weight distribution can cause pinched nerves, swollen joints and Achilles tendonitis.

Toes - By wearing high heels, our toes will be forced into the toe box of the shoe by the sheer force of gravity. In case the toe box in narrow, the toes will be pressed together, causing the inner and outer toes into, an abnormal fixed position known as hammertoe. Even if the toe box is wider, the pressure against the toes and skin can lead to unsightly corns, calluses, and blisters

Varicose veins – Heels force our ankles to bend forward, restricting blood circulation in the lower limbs and leading to varicose veins. This may result in ruptured veins, and a swollen and painful sensation in the legs.

Calves – Long-term walking in heels shortens the muscles and tendons in the calves, leading to stiffness, reduced range of motion, and a higher risk of strains, sprains and lower-body injury.

How to Wear Heels Safely

•    Reserve high heels for special occasions.
•    Carry heels in the bag and put them on arrival at office or the venue
•    During the day, take them off occasionally to stretch and relax.
•    At all other times, wear flats with insole supports or heels no higher than 1½ inches.

Need more advice or treatment? Many health care experts at antarnaad are always here to help you out. Antarnaad is a growing network of experienced physiotherapists, dietitians and nutritionists, fitness trainers and Yoga experts providing treatment for all the conditions. For more information visit our website www.antarnaad.net or call our Consultant: Mb: 9899700187