High Heels – Are Your Shoes Causing Your Back Pain?

With Christmas just around the corner, thoughts turn to that perfect outfit. Wearing high heels can make you feel taller, glamorous, and fashionable. But are these benefits worth the painful consequences?


High-heeled shoes significantly affect your body’s centre of gravity and change your body’s alignment and posture. Wearing heels also increases the pressure on the ball of the foot and muscles of the leg and calf.  A 3 inch heel increases this pressure by a massive 76% explaining those sore feet at the end of the night!

When you wear high heels, you position your feet in a downward position, this is what gives your leg a slender and lengthened appearance. This places pressure on your forefoot, leaving the rest of your body needing to adjust to compensate and maintain balance. The lower part of the body leans forward, while the upper body must lean back. This altered posture increases the amount of effort needed for the body to stay upright. There is extra force put through our knees. The body’s centre of mass is pushed forwards, placing strain on the pelvis, hips and spinal joints.

Heels can also cause foot problems or worsen existing conditions such as bunions or plantar fasciitis and can also cause your foot and ankle to turn in an outward position, putting you at risk for losing your balance and spraining your ankles. A heel with a pointed toe tends to squeeze the bones of the toes together. So wearing these for long periods can not only be uncomfortable but cause issues into the toe joints themselves.

So, what can you do about it?

Here are some recommendations for things to consider if you will still be wearing high heels.  Taking the following into consideration can drastically lower the negative affects of wearing high heels, without having to avoid them all together.

– Avoid wearing high heels for long periods of time. Invest in a pair of foldable flats to keep in your bag.

– Stretch leg muscles after wearing heels. Your muscles have to work harder to maintain balance, so stretch them as you would any other muscle group after exercising.

– Try and set your limit to 2 inches and avoid a pointed toe.

– Opt for shoes with leather insoles to keep foot from slipping.

– Buy a wide variety of shoes and vary your footwear day to day.

High heels may be the perfect finish to your outfit but thinking about the shoes you wear will not only avoid the painful feet the day after, but also have an impact on the overall condition of your joints.

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