That gorgeous pair of heels may put the finishing touches on that perfect outfit, but did you know they could be doing damage to your body? It’s not too surprising, considering how uncomfortable they can be, especially after wearing a pair of four inch stilettos all day. Just what exactly do those heels do to you?
Firstly, there’s the toes. While wearing heels, your body weight is shifted forward onto the balls of your feet and your toes. This causes them to be pushed forward into the shoe, often into an unnatural shape, which can be a major culprit for ingrown toenails, blisters, and bunions. Putting all that weight on the balls of your feet disrupts your normal gait, which can lead to a slew of joint problems. Normally your foot acts as a shock absorber for your movement. When all that force becomes confined to the much smaller area of your toes and the ball of your feet, it can cause pain and even damage to the bones and nerves there.
Heels change the natural angle of the foot, causing your ankle to distribute the weight differently than it normally would. This is one reason it is so easy to roll your ankles and injure them. This angle also restricts a certain amount of blood flow throughout your legs, which could lead to spider veins over time. Frequent wearers are also at risk for their achilles tendon shortening up. This can cause pain when the heels are taken off and the tendon is forced to stretch back out. This gets worse the longer you wear heels and the more often you wear them. Your knees, which are another big shock absorber, can also take a hit from chronic heel wearing. Your knees have to pick up that extra shock absorption your feet aren’t handling, this can lead to extra wear-and-tear along the inside of the knee. Over time this can lead to osteoarthritis.
Hips and Spine:
The stance required to wear heels causes your hips to shift forward in order to balance. Over time this puts a lot of extra stress on tendons and muscles on the sides of your hips. With your hips shifted forward, your spine has to balance out your weight by overarching backwards. This puts extra pressure on the nerves in your spine, which can lead to back pain and even sciatica. It is not uncommon to also suffer plantar fasciitis too. Both chiropractic and acupuncture can help eliminate the pain and shorten the healing time.
You don’t have to give up your heels altogether, but try to be mindful of how often you wear them. Try to wear them on days that don’t require much standing or walking. Put soft insoles in them to cushion your feet. Alternate your shoe choice from day to day or even throughout the day. If you wear heels one day, try wearing shoes with good support the next. When you do wear heels, the lower the better, less than two inches is a much healthier choice. Also make sure they fit well so your toes have wiggle room. Lastly, make sure to stretch out your calf muscles and feet before, and especially after, wearing your heels. Try balancing with the balls of your feet on the edge of something like a sidewalk ledge and dropping the heel of your foot towards the ground. If you have any questions about this, or any other health question, call Leading Edge Chiropractic and Acupuncture at 605-275-2100