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High Heels - How high is too high?

High heels might be gorgeous to look at, what are they really doing to our feet when we wear them?

Wearing heels for a sustained period can have a significant impact on our feet. Causing or exacerbating existing problems like bunions or plantar fascitiis. This is due to how the shoes alter the pressure and forces through the foot and the rest of the body.

High heels are designed to point the toes down. This is what gives the leg the attractive slender look. However, this position also causes excessive pressure on the ball of the foot, a 3-inch heel puts 76% more pressure into your foot.  Hence the sore feet after a night in heels.

As we stand on the ball of our feet in heels, there is extra force put through our knees. This change in force is seen upwards into other joints of the pelvis and spine. By wearing heels the body’s centre of mass is pushed forwards. Altering the way we stand, and increasing the amount of effort needed for the body to stay upright.

Heels with a pointed toe tend to squeeze the bones of the toes together. So wearing these for long periods can not only be uncomfortable but cause issues into the toe joints themselves.

So what to do about it:

  • Avoid wearing high heels for long periods of time, and varying high heels with flat shoes as well
  • Choose heels that are comfortable to wear – preferably less than 2 inches high and avoiding a pointed toe
  • Stretch you leg muscles after wearing heels – your muscles have to work extra hard to stay balanced in heels. So stretch them out, exactly the same as with other muscles that have been exercised.

High heels may be the perfect finish to your outfit. But thinking about the shoes you wear will not only avoid the painful feet the day after, but also have an impact on the overall condition of your spine.

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