High Heel And Your Health: Possible Cause Of Joint Issues
High heel shoes might seem like a fashionable item to wear regularly, simply because they make you look and feel sexy. Well, studies say that you may need to reconsider how often you choose to wear those stilettos. When they say that fashion is painful, they’re not joking. Wearing high heels every day can actually have a serious impact on your health.
Anybody experiencing some lower back pain, bunions or poor blood circulation? According to experts, these are just a few problems that hours of high heels every day can cause.
The problem with high shoes is that they create an unequal weight distribution on your foot bones. This means that these joints become exposed to holding more weight, which is more than what they’re naturally designed to bear. As a result, you might experience painful foot conditions like bunions and meta-tarsalgias or fore-foot pain.
High Heel Shoes Are A Health Hazard
I know what you’re thinking right now. Those new stilettos in my cupboard are so gorgeous and make my outfit complete! And fair enough, there’s no doubt that wearing heels with your outfit enhances the look. A strong presence is created when a woman enters a room with long legs and a tall body. I get it.
Don’t stress though, because you can still wear them on special occasions. It might just be smarter to limit how frequently you do so. Your health and body will thank you later on – especially your bones. Experts say that long periods of wearing high heel shoes might lead to major problems like degenerative arthritis or osteoarthritis.
According to Uma Kumar, the HOD in Rheumatology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), wearing high heels every day for long hours can lead to cumulative damage of bones and emerge as a leading cause for arthritis. Osteoarthritis is probably the most common chronic and long-lasting joint condition. Kumar says it is caused by joint damage where the cartilage breaks down, causing the bones within the joint to rub together. This leads to pain, stiffness and other issues.
Luckily, there are ways to wear high shoes without harming your feet detrimentally. Podiatrists recommend sticking to an 80/20 rule. This means that you would wear flat, practical shoes 80 per cent of the time and keep your highest heels for big events only.
However, your level of activity throughout the day makes a difference too. If you’re working around the desk a lot, stick to lower heels or wear thicker wedges – they’re more beneficial than stilettos. Trust what the experts say, no matter how good you look in those shiny new stilettos. The side effects are just not worth it!
The Health Hazards Explained
Have you ever felt that awful pinched nerve sensation? Yes? Well, I’ll have you know that high heel shoes can cause a pinched nerve in your feet. If you’ve experienced the uneasy feeling in your back, then wait until it’s in your foot. And as I said, health hazards like bunions, clawed toes, muscle shortening of your calf and hamstring muscles, lower back pain and ankle injuries can all be linked to wearing high shoes.
Ms Reilly, the founder and owner of Sole Therapy, says the unnatural positioning of the toes and the pressure placed on the ball of your feet can trigger the development of bunions. While it’s not a definite fact that you will develop this condition, if you have a family history or your foot is weak, you’re more exposed to bunions.
Lastly, wearing heels frequently can put unnecessary amounts of pressure on your knees and toes. This might be the cause of those aches and pains you are feeling in the heels of your feet. The calf muscle is also stressed continuously. Experts say that early symptoms of osteoarthritis include pain in joints, early morning stiffness in feet for more than 30 minutes and swelling in your feet and back. You might even experience pain in your waist.
Having said that, if you really love wearing higher shoes, then it’s best to opt for wedges or platform shoes. The problem arises with the height of the shoe and the ideal height should be one and a half inches, says Uma Kumar.
And if you’ve got teenage girls or you are one, then it might be best to avoid the high heel because they can affect their posture at an early age and develop chronic pains later.
How Do You Choose The Right Heel For You?
Experts suggest analysing the way both your heels look when standing with your feet together. If you can fit two fingers [index and middle] in the arch area, then high shoes could cause foot fatigue or a strain. You must ensure you have a nice contour to the base of your heels. Heels have always been the first fashion choice, but you want to ensure your feet are secure.
The last thing you want for your feet is to rock around in your high heel shoes. This will cause the forefoot to be squashed and you don’t want that.
If you enjoy a bit of height on a daily basis, then opt for square or wide toe heels, wedges or shoes with more cushion instead of pointed toe heels and stilettos. And if you are going to wear very high shoes then there are ways to help your feet recover at the end of the day. Experts suggest using a spiky ball to massage the ball of your feet. This will relieve the nerve fibre from being oversensitive and release knots.
Because I am quite an active person I choose to bath with Epsom salts. However, Epsom baths are also amazing for relaxing the tissues in your feet and body. I also like to moisturise my feet every day, and finish with yoga and foot exercises to sure my feet are healthy.
If you do wear high heel shoes frequently then you will need to go for regular check-ups with the podiatrist and go for deep tissue massages.
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What’s the secret to the actress, Elizabeth Banks’ enviable lower half? Well, for starters she doesn’t just exercise, she keeps a close eye on her diet too. See her workout routine here.