High Heels: Pretty and pretty bad for you

High heels have their perks. It makes a female become taller, certain body parts become more prominent and noticeable, and they make a girl's legs look longer. Women wear heels to work, to formal events, meetings, and whenever else they please. Unfortunately, high heels also come with many negative effects on the body.

Out of the same shoes that bring out a woman's elegance is the long term effects of inflamed nerves, inflamed ligaments, a shortened Achilles tendon and calf muscles, hammer toes, and the worst of all: Posture. 

Effects of High Heels on One's Feet
While a person wears high heels, her feet are automatically in a downward position, which increases the pressure significantly on the bottom of the forefoot, also known as the plantar. The higher the heel the higher the pressure. For example, wearing a 3.75 inch heel increases the pressure of the plantar by 76%. This increase in pressure may lead to pain in the feet or foot deformities, including bunions, which is when your big toe points towards your second toe, hammer toes, in which is when your toes are permanently bent, and neuromas, which are tumors in nerve tissue of the foot. The downward position of heels can also cause the person wearing them to walk with feet pointing outwards, like a duck, which can increase the risk of having Haglund's Deformity, a condition in which a bone in the heel increases in size and causes pain and inflammation in the bursa, a fluid that serves as a cushion between bones. 

Effects on Posture
Because heels put your feet in a downward position, the bottom part of your body automatically leans forward as the top of your body leans back to keep its balance. This isn't a normal standing position. Bad posture leads to the other effects of high heels..
      As said about posture, the normal "s" curve shape your spine is in, acts as a shock absorber, which reduces stress on the vertabrae. Wearing heels causes the lower back spine, also known as the lumbar, to flatten. When your spine isn't aligned, your back muscles become overused and back pain could commence.
      The hips contain hip flexor muscles, which are located in the upper front part of the thighs, are forced to work harder while heels are worn because your feet are facing downwards. 
      Knees are deeply affected by heel usage. Which is why knee osteoarthritis is twice as common in women than in men.  Osteoarthiris is the most common join disorder which is usually caused by the aging and ware of a join. This is more common among older people can be expedited when heels are worn. 

There are many negative effects that come with wearing high heels but I don't think it's going to stop women from wearing them. I think most girls care too much about their appearance to give up on wearing such figure flattering shoes. Or am I wrong? Would you stop wearing heels after reading this post?

Works cited:


I usually never wear heels unless they are wedges because I just cannot walk right in them. I look uncordinated and it just doesn't turn out okay. But over break I decided to wear heels to a party that required a good half mile walk to.(I was not aware of this when the only shoes I packed were heels) My friend I was visting told me everyone wears heels so I did. Bad mistake. Since then I have had major lower back pain and I think it was caused from the heels. It has been on and off for two weeks now and it hasn't gotten any better. I think that the heels I wore weren't the best. They were cheap and not name brand. I remeber seeing this article on the news.
I think that the more you pay for heels, the better they are made and maybe the better they are for you spine and posture. Next time I'll make sure my heels are more comfy before i walk around the city in them/

Heels can be a girl’s best or worst friend. As I walk around this town on a Friday or Saturday night, I can’t help but wonder how some girls wear heels every time they go out! After I wear heels for one night, chances are I won’t be wearing heels the next night because my feet are still recovering from the previous night. Unless you have a super comfortable pair of heels, I can’t help but assume many of these girls wear heels to fit in with the rest. Sure, heels can top any outfit, but is the pain really worth it?

The New York Times published an article discussing an experiment conducted by researchers looking at how heels can affect one’s body. One group observed were nine women who had worn heels at least 40 hours a week for at least two years. The control group consisted of 10 other women who rarely, if ever, wore heels. The scientists observed their muscle activity when wearing heels. “Ultrasound probes measured the length of muscle fibers in their legs.” Their findings were interesting.

They found that woman wearing heels walked in shorter, more forceful strides with their toes constantly flexed into a pointed position. I know exactly what they are talking about. When I wear heels, I know that my toes kind of cramp of in a stiff position to prevent my toes from sliding forward. I also know I walk in shorter strides and extend my leg more because it is just easier to walk this way in heels. Otherwise, it feels like the shoes are always too loose. The odd thing is that when the heeled woman took off their shoes, they tended to walk in the same pattern. “As a result, the fibers in their calf muscles had shortened and they put much greater mechanical strain on their calf muscles than the control group did.” The woman who did not wear heels on the other hand, stretched their muscles and tendons more. Their conclusion was that heels wearers use a lot more effort to walk and cover a lot less ground in the time that a non-heel wearer could. This is surely true as I am sure many of you have been out with that person who you have to walk extra slow because of their heels.

A woman’s calf muscle looks much more defined when she wears heels because her leg is lifted. I would think that this extension of the calf muscle is good because it is like “stretching” your legs. However, according to my research, the opposite is true.
A topic similar to this is how people run barefoot, because they claim that sneakers are not good to run in. According to New York Magazine, all shoes are bad for your feet because they force you to walk in a manner other than the way evolution naturally meant for us to walk. I have heard this argument many times, and it makes sense to me. It took 4 million years to develop the way our feet walk, and mankind screwed it up with our constant advancements!

I'm so glad somebody finally posted about this! I wear heels whenever I go out at night and I can usually feel it in my body the next day. Typically when I wake up the next day my back is sore my my achilles is very tight. My mom gave me a bit of heel advice that I've always remembered to avoid pain. The advice? Stretch your body when you take your heels off. Some examples include, pointing and flexing your feet, stretching your hamstrings and your calves, and relaxing your back. In my experiences, it isn't quite convenient to stretch at 2am when you get home from a long night out so I try to make a conscious effort to stretch in the morning when I wake up. This usually helps.
While having hammer toe isn't painful, its definitely something strange that I've noticed developed on my feet since I've come to college. Because I wear heels so often, I try and wear sneakers during the day to offset some of the pain. My recommendation to anyone who finds themselves in my position (wearing heels too often) is to invest in a good pair of sneakers, and stretch while you can.

I wear heels almost all the time whenever I go out. I know it's not the best idea and I'm almost 6'0 in them, but I love them! The pain I feel later on at night or sometimes the next day probably won't stop me from wearing them (you probably think I'm insane!)I've heard that wedges are better than stilettos since all of your weight isn't being completely shifted on the front part of your foot as much. Also, the way your shoes fit can help. If it's too lose then your foot will slide causing pressure on your toes.
I also find it better to sit and stretch my legs out while I'm out and that helps with the potential discomfort of the next day. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1053601/High-heel-horrors-The-hidden-cost-body-crucial-extra-inches.html

I would say I wear heels about 50% of the time when I go out and that’s because I refuse to where heels when its raining and when it’s really cold outside. Wearing heels is apart of dressing up and can really make an outfit. This issue is one of those things that are just not that serious, like you can’t avoid doing everything that harms you. I am surprise someone didn’t find an article that said wearing heels causes cancer. I am still going to wear heels because I like the way they look sometimes and lets face if your girl and when you get your first real job your probably going to have to dress up and wear heels so its good to practice now.

As you said, one of the worst things heels can do is mess with your posture. I had never really thought that poor posture was all that bad for your health, but this* Livestrong article says otherwise. Apart from sore muscles and a bad spine, poor posture can cause blood pressure constriction, nerve constriction, and even stress.

I've read that some women try to make up excuses for wearing them, even talking about the exercise benefits of wearing heels, claiming they tone your legs. And they definitely do make your legs look better (that is, if you can actually walk in them). This, along with the fact that wearing them is such popular choice, is why girls will probably not be too willing to give them up any time soon, despite the risks.

* http://www.livestrong.com/article/31223-negative-effects-poor-posture/

I too wear heels quite often when I go out. However, I actually wore them to school almost every day of high school. This isn't a surprise in my family because my mom , who is a hairdresser and works on her feet all day, has worn them to work for years. For the two of us, flat shoes are honestly more uncomfortable because of the way that our feet are arched. I haven't really thought about the long term effects of wearing heels all of the time in respect to the areas that you listed. As of know, all I can think about is the pain that some flat shoes cause me. An article from the "Foot & Ankle Associates, Inc." page explains that "[t]he most important quality to look for in shoes is durable construction that will protect your feet and keep them comfortable" (http://www.footandanklesantafe.com/library/you-are-what-you-wear-shoes-and-healthy-feet.cfm). While this is not the only source or the ultimate truth about choosing a shoe style, it does support my own personal belief although I will continue to consider potential long-term effects of wearing heels after reading this entry.

I have never been able to wear heels, but I'm always hearing about how bad they are for you, which makes complete sense. If humans were meant to walk like that they would, and there is no reason to force it! I looked into other ways fashion could be causing health issues, and it turns out skinny jeans can be bad for you as well. Wearing jeans, or just clothing in general, that are too tight can cause a compression of nerves and result in a numbness in the affected area. This happening one or two times isn't a serious problem, but repeated episodes can cause permanent damage. It's scary how far people will go to look good, and scary how fashion can be so dangerous.


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