High Heels May Negatively Impact Foot Health

A study published by the Journal of Applied Physiology has determined that long-term high heel use can have detrimental effects on the legs’ muscles, such as muscle strain and muscle fatigue. According to the study’s abstract, long-term high heel use has been found to “shorten medial gastrocnemius muscle fascicles and increase Achilles tendon stiffness.” The study’s results are consistent with reports that high heel wearers often experience discomfort, pain, and tiredness. It also suggests that “long-term high heel use may compromise muscle efficiency in walking”.

High heels have a history for causing foot and ankle problems.If you have any concerns about your feet or ankles, contact Dr. Jon M. Sherman of Kentlands Foot & Ankle Center . Our doctor can provide the care you need to keep your pain free and on your feet.

Effects of High Heels on the Feet

High heels are popular shoes among women because their style and societal appeal. Despite this, they can still cause many health problems if worn too frequently.

What parts my body will be affected by high heels?

  • Ankle Joints
  • Achilles Tendon – may shorten and stiffen with prolonged wear
  • Balls of the Feet
  • Knees – heels cause the knees to bend constantly, creating stress on them
  • Back – they decrease the spine’s ability to absorb shock, which may lead to back pain. Also, the vertebrae of the lower back may compress.

What kinds of foot problems can develop from wearing high heels?

  • Corns
  • Calluses
  • Hammertoe
  • Bunions
  • Morton’s Neuroma
  • Plantar Fasciitis

How can I still wear high heels and maintain foot health?

If you want to wear high heeled shoes, make sure that you are not wearing them every day, as this will help prevent long term physical problems. Try wearing thicker heels as opposed to stilettos to distribute weight more evenly across the feet. Always make sure you are wearing the proper shoes for the right occasion, such as sneakers for exercising. If you walk to work, try carrying your heels with you and changing into them once you arrive at work. Adding inserts to your heels can help cushion your feet and absorb shock. Full foot inserts or metatarsal pads are available.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact our offices located in Gaithersburg, MD . We offer the newest diagnostic tools and technology to treat your foot and ankle needs.

Read more about the effects of high heels

Effect of High-Heels on the Feet

For hundreds of years, women have been wearing various kinds of high-heels for aesthetic reasons. Women who wear high-heels appear to be taller and have longer and thinner legs, and the wearer’s gait and posture changes. Though high-heels have had an association with femininity and have kept them popular over the years, there are definite health problems caused by wearing them too frequently.

The motion of the ankle joints is limited when heels are worn. The ankle joint is very important to the body when it comes to walking. Because of their location, these joints have a great deal of weight put on them. Thus, it is very important to keep them as healthy as possible. The Achilles tendon is the main tendon in the ankle. Wearing high-heels too often, studies have shown, can cause the calf muscle and Achilles tendon to shorten and stiffen. This can cause problems when shoes without heels are worn.

By putting a great deal of pressure on the ball of the foot and by forcing the toes into a small toe box, high-heels can cause or may worsen many foot problems. These include corns, hammertoe, bunions, Morton’s neuroma and plantar fasciitis.

Not only does wearing very high-heels regularly have negative effects on the feet, the rest of the body can suffer as well. The knees, one of the most important joints in the entire body, can be affected by wearing high-heels. High-heels causes the knees to stay bent all the time. Also, it can cause them to bend slightly inward as well. Doctors believe that women can suffer from osteoarthritis later in life because of constantly walking like in high-heels. By limiting the natural motion of the foot during walking, high-heels also cause an increased in stress on the knees.

Similarly, high-heels can cause the back to go out of alignment. If high-heels are worn constantly, the spine’s ability to absorb shoc k can cause continued back pain. They can compress the vertebrae of the lower back, and can overuse the back muscles.

However, this is not to say that high-heels can never be worn. If worn occasionally and not often, they will not cause serious problems. They should not be worn every day.It’s important to wear them modestly to avoid the long-term physical health problems of the feet, knees, ankles, and back mentioned above.