From the girl-boss power look to a night out ensemble, it helps to have a killer heel. But are those heels killer on your body? What does a stiletto really do to your poor feet?
We all get that toe pain after a night dancing in stilettos, but that pain can manifest in some not so fun foot problems. Heels can cause bunions, hammertoes, and ingrown toenails. Not to mention, a tall heel can make you more likely to twist an ankle!
When wearing heels, your posture changes in order to keep you balanced, forcing your spine out of its natural alignment. Your chest and lower back is pushed forward which can cause back and hip pain.
Long Term Issues
I’ve had patients (typically older ladies who have been wearing heels for years!) tell me that their feet hurt only when they’re wearing flats rather than heels. That’s because consistently wearing heels can cause fibers in your calf muscles to shorten and stiffen your Achilles tendon over time. When you then wear flats, you’re forcing your tendon to stretch more than it’s used to. The repeated pressure on your toes and ball of your foot can also lead to a stress fracture.
So, do I need to ditch the heels altogether?
I know you don’t want to give up the heels — there are some things you can do to minimize the pain and damage.
- Alternate shoes through the week. Different heel heights will put pressure on different parts of your foot and help decrease the damage.
- Get someone to give you a foot and leg massage when you take off your heels! Calf and foot massages help increase circulation and release the tightness of your muscles.
- Thicker heels can help! Wedges and chunky heels help spread your body weight better than a stiletto will.
- Take a break from heels when you can! Athleisure is having a moment, so give those sneakers a try.
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