Call Us: 1300 975 980

Effects of high heels on feet

Effects of high heels on feet

High heels dominate the fashion industry. They give women more confidence and empowerment by elongating and accentuating the legs, increasing height and drawing attention from both men and women. However, high heels not only cause chronic foot problems, but can also lead to common complaints like leg and back pain by changing your walking pattern and posture.
When wearing high heels, the ankle is placed in a plantar flexed (toes pointing down) position resulting in in the foot not being able to push off the ground with as much force as the ankle cannot dorsiflex (extend) resulting in a shorter stride length. This causes the hip flexor muscles in the legs to work harder to move and pull the body forward. The knees also stay more bent (flexed) and forward, causing the knee muscles to work harder.

The body’s centre of gravity is shifted forward when wearing high heels causing the chest to be pushed forward and the hips flexed resulting in a forward tilt (lumbar lordosis). A 1-inch heel is enough to tilt the body forward by about 10 degrees. If the body does not adjust, it will result in falling forward. To regain balance, the body will make postural adjustments from the toes all the way up to the spine. To try to keep the body posture upright, the calf, back, hamstring muscles contract to pull the body upright resulting in muscle fatigue.
The effects of frequently wearing heels, such as for more than 40 hours per weeks can lead to the calf muscles shortening that severely that the heel cannot contact the ground when walking barefoot resulting in walking on the toes.

High heels can cause and exacerbate foot conditions such as such as corns, hammertoes, bunions, ligament damage, Morton’s neuroma and plantar fasciitis by placing a great deal of pressure on the ball of the foot.

As podiatrists, we recommend flat footwear however majority of women cannot live without high heels. We are not advocating the wearing of high heels but if you are a slave to fashion we recommend the following features:
• A wide heel such as wedges, this provides stability and more even pressure distribution at the heel, avoid stilettos.
•Compromise for work and keep your stilettos for dinner, weddings and special occasions
• A platform or thick soled shoe to reduce the angle of inclination at the ankle joint and to reduce pressure on the ball of the foot
• An ankle strap to hold the shoe on the foot preventing the toes clawing to grip onto the shoe.
• Keep heel height under 7cm.
• Walk to work in flats and change to heels for meetings.
•Remove heels periodically and stretch the calves.

At Mint Foot Care we stock Revere footwear, a brand that has been able to merge fashion with medical grade footwear. Our podiatrists can review your feet and give the best advice on footwear regarding your own history. If you have any concerns regarding your feet and footwear call Mint Foot Care today on 1300 975 980.

Latest News

  • SPORTS

    Lower Limb Injuries in Rugby League

    Rugby league is a high speed and quick change of direction game with high impact collisions. There is constant change in acceleration and deceleration, direction, pace with quick stops and starts. Due to the amount of body contact as well as high speeds of impact in tackles, injuries to the lower limbs account for over […]

    Date:6 March 18, 2018
  • FOOTWEAR

    Do Your Shoes Pass the Healthy Shoe Checklist?

    Do Your Shoes Pass the Healthy Shoe Checklist? Footwear plays a key role in the development of foot and toe problems such as bunions, calluses, corns and plantar fasciitis. These conditions can be prevented or the progression reduced by wearing good fitting and supportive footwear. Since our feet come in all different shapes and sizes […]

    Date:6 November 22, 2017
  • BONE

    STRESS FRACTURES

    WHAT IS A STRESS FRACTURE? A stress fracture is an incomplete crack in a bone. Stress fractures are caused by repeated stress or repetitive activity over a period, weakening the bone. Stress fractures are common in runners and athletes who participate in soccer, basketball and people who change their activities such as by trying a […]

    Date:6 November 22, 2017
  • FOOTWEAR

    Effects of high heels on feet

    Effects of high heels on feet High heels dominate the fashion industry. They give women more confidence and empowerment by elongating and accentuating the legs, increasing height and drawing attention from both men and women. However, high heels not only cause chronic foot problems, but can also lead to common complaints like leg and back […]

    Date:6 November 22, 2017
  • NAILS

    Why Does My Nail Polish Stain My Nails Yellow?

    This is a common complaint that I hear from many of my patients. There are two possible causes. The most likely reason is a colour reaction. Darker coloured polishes in particular can stain nails due to a chemical reaction between the colorant and the nail plate. It can also take a few days to a […]

    Date:6 November 16, 2017
  • CIRCULATION

    Peripheral Vascular Disease

    Peripheral Vascular Disease What is peripheral vascular disease? Peripheral vascular disease (PVD) is the reduced circulation of blood to a body part other than the brain or heart. It most commonly affects the blood vessels of the legs and kidneys. It is caused by a narrowed or blocked blood vessel which is usually caused by […]

    Date:6 November 15, 2017