Heels are a big part of women's fashion. You'll rarely see celebs in 'flats' and the same can be said for a lot of people around the UK. Whether it's wearing heels on a night out for a few hours or wearing them at work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week for 50 years they may have an impact on your health and fitness.
The main problem is that heels alter the way your kinetic chain works (this is your muscles, bones, ligaments, tendons etc that help you move). When in heels your bodyweight is pushed onto the front of your foot. If this is only for a short space of time it's not too much of a problem as it's a natural position to be in periodically. If it's for a longer space of time over a period of years then you'll start to get problems. When in high heels your bones in your foot and ankle are pushed out of alignment. They twist and bend out of shape, altering the angles at your joints and adding unecessary stress.
Some of the biggest problems attributed to the prolonged use of high heels are:
- development of bunions
- toes becoming 'claw' like and arthritic
- pain in the arch of your foot caused by deformation of the bones
- pain in the toes from prolonged periods of hypertension
What people don't realise is the impact this has higher up the body. Your foot is the first thing to touch the ground when you walk, run and do pretty much most movements. The change in angles and pressures applied to the bones in your foot and ankle have huge impacts on the muscle and bones above the ankle. If your ankle doesn't move correctly then your knee, hip and muscles in between won't either. So problems with your ankle can lead to a number of other issues such as:
- hip tightness
- hip anterior tilt
- lumbar spine lordosis and pain
- knee pain
- weak ankles and susceptibility to ankle sprains
What can you do about it? Well unfortunately the best method to prevent any of this pain and problems in your body is to stop wearing heels for as long. Occasional exposure to wearing heels isn't going to be a problem, but prolonged use for a number of years will lead to problems. Is fashion worth living in pain for? That's a choice you need to make for yourself!