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 one of our podiatrists from West Coast Podiatry Center. Our doctors 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?
- 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.