You’ve heard the saying, “The shoes make the outfit.” Women and their shoes. It all started when we were young, dressing up in our mother’s clothing, with lots of jewelry, and heels! And the higher the heel the better. Didn’t matter if they didn’t fit us, we just loved the way they looked on our little feet. Now that we are older, high heels speak femininity, make us feel sexy, makes our legs more shapely, and our outfit look better. As much as we love them, wearing heels comes with a price. This price affects our posture, knees, muscles, tendons, and potential for pain.
Just like anything in life, there needs to be a balance. Balancing the good versus the bad to create a happy medium. A good example is with our diet. Maintaining a healthy diet doesn’t mean cutting out all the bad stuff. It means keeping that bad stuff in moderation. It can’t be all or nothing. Moderation is key. Now, if we look at shoes the same can be said, especially when we understand the impact the shoe has on our body.
High heels cause many changes in our body:
- They put our whole body out of alignment. The heels are unnaturally raised above the toes. This, in turn, creates a shift in our hips, shoulders, back, and spine. In the long-run this can cause severe lower back and leg pain.
- The higher the heel, the more pressure on the front of the foot. This can cause bruising, ankle injuries, pain, tendinitis, and even arthritis.
- Our balance can be affected, which increases our chances of falling and spraining or breaking an ankle.
- Much of our body weight is carried by the ball of our foot. Over time this can create a condition called metatarsalgia, which is pain in the foot just before the toes.
- Pressure is increased on our knees due to the body shifting forward. One study found the pressure on the knees to be increased by 26%. This situation increases one’s risk of developing arthritis in that area.
- Because the muscles and tendons naturally contract when we walk in high heels, long-term wear can cause them to shorten and tighten creating tendinitis.
- “Pump Bump” is a term used to describe the bony enlargement on the back of the heel that can develop from the straps of shoes or simple the height of it. This condition is also known as Haglund’s deformity.
- Hammertoes can develop from squeezing our feet into poor fitting high heeled shoes. This causes the toes to curl in order to fit into the shoe. Over time, this can cause the toes to become misshapen.
By understanding how shoes, especially high heeled shoes, affect our body, we can make better choices in terms of which shoes we purchase and how long we wear them. Being aware can help us age well so we don’t negatively impact the later years of our life.