High heel shoes are a common staple today for both casual and formal settings. High heel shoes can enhance the definition in the legs and make you look taller.
However, let’s not forget that they also affect your foot posture. So it is worth understanding what are the effects of high heels on the feet and whole body. Knowing these effects can help you prioritise and make the best decisions for you and your foot health.
Effects on the Feet
The increase in heel height can impact the mobility and function of the feet in multiple ways. As there is greater distribution of weight on the forefoot, the pressure on the ball of the foot increases. At the same time, the range of motion in the ankle is limited because of the heel height which reduces support from the heels. This creates instability and increases the risk of ankle injuries.
Most high-heeled shoes have a narrow toe box, which compresses the toes. As there is already excessive pressure on the toes and the ball of the foot, women who regularly wear narrow, high-heeled shoes are more likely to develop foot structure problems like bunions than women who wear flat shoes. They are also exposed to conditions like metatarsalgia, Morton’s Neuroma, and hammertoes.
Effects on the Body
The effect high-heeled shoes have on the body and the changes in the foot posture and function should not be ignored. Calf pain is often reported by women who regularly wear high heel shoes. Because of the heel height, the calf muscles are in a shortened position for extended periods of time. This causes tightness and pain in the calf muscles.
As high-heeled shoes can create a loss of balance and stability, the ankles and knees press forward to regain balance. This adds stress to the hips and the lower back, which also press forward as a result. Since the hip and lower back are stressed and outside their optimal position, hip pain and lower back pain can be experienced. Overall, your body posture and physical health get affected with regular and long term use of high-heeled shoes.
Heal the Heel
High-heeled shoes are here to stay, despite the fact that their drawbacks have been well documented by the medical community. What we can do is make smarter choices when it comes to footwear because good foot health today will lead to a healthy life tomorrow.
The American Podiatry Medical Association (APMA) recommends shoes that provide adequate/good cushioning at the forefoot to allow the toes to relax.
If you’re going to wear high-heeled shoes, make sure the height is not more than 2 inches to avoid injuries caused by excessive pressure on the toes and ball of the foot. Ideally, you should alternate between different types of shoes in order to reduce the stress placed on the feet and thus the lower body.
Using Foot Insoles
Prolonged use of high heels can lead to tight calves which can cause flat feet to develop. The foot specialist will examine your foot and body posture, walking stride and will review your medical history for proper diagnosis and treatment.
MASS4D® insoles can provide the corrective support needed for pain management and improve alignment from the feet up. MASS4D® can be inserted in formal, casual and sports shoes, to ensure that your feet are in the best posture at all times!
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