High heels. We love ’em, right? Stilettos, pumps, platforms, spiked kitten heels: they all do the trick of making us feel sexy, in as little time as it takes to slip on a favorite pair. Yes, even on our worst days, the right heels can lift our spirits and send our confidence soaring. However, could our footwear choices be harming our health? If you wear heels frequently, the answer is a definite maybe.
Keep reading for more info on high heels and health, as well as tips on preventing complications and soothing tired, aching feet and legs.
The Dangers of Wearing Heels
If you wear high heels three or more days a week, you could be putting yourself at risk for some serious problems. For example, high heels are associated with complications like the following:
- Poor circulation.When we walk in heels, our ankles bed forward in an unnatural way. This can restrict blood flow to the legs and feet, which can eventually result in spider veins, nerve damage, and a host of other problems.
- Bone damage.The structure of most heels promotes an unnatural gait, forcing most of our weight onto the delicate bones of the balls of our feet. What’s more, wearing heels that scrunch the toes can result in bone deformities and other complications.
- Damage to the tendons.The Achilles tendons, especially, are at risk, as wearing high heels can cause them to become thicker, shorter and inflamed.
- Risks to the knees and hips.Wearing heels can thrust your hips forward into an unnatural position, which, over time, can lead to unnecessary wear and tear. Likewise, the knees act as natural shock-absorbers, and the effects of walking in heels can fast-track osteoarthritis and other conditions.
- Back problems.Wearing heels can result in pronounced curvature of the spine. Over time, this can affect the lower back, which can result in damage to the spinal discs.
What You Can Do
Thankfully, there are ways you can reduce the risks associated with wearing heels. First of all, you can switch to flats. And if wearing flats all day, every day doesn’t quite do it for you, you can at least keep a comfy, compact pair in your desk or bag, and wear them during commutes, or during downtime at work. And in addition to switching to low-heeled shoes, the following tips can address and prevent the dangers associated with heels, as well as enhance overall health and wellness:
- Wear compression socks. Compression socks and tights are known to promote healthy circulation, and can also rejuvenate and refresh tired, overworked feet and legs. This can reverse some of the damage caused by heels, as well as prevent complications down the road. What’s more, modern-day compression socks are cute and chic, and available in a number of colors and styles.
- Wear insoles.Soft or gel-filled insoles can help absorb shock, which can reduce pressure on the feet and knees.
- Make sure your heels are a perfect fit.Wearing shoes that are too big can cause your feet to slide around, which increases your risk of falling and developing blisters and callouses. Conversely, shoes that pinch restrict circulation and movement. Avoid these effects by ensuring a proper fit, each and every time. No more buying that perfect shoe in a half-size too small; you may regret that purchase in the moment, but your feet will thank you later.
- Stretch and elevate.During the day, reduce risks by stretching and elevating your legs and ankles. At night, take a few minutes before bed to prop up your feet, as this promotes healthier blood flow to the lower extremities.
High heels can be a sexy way to spice up any outfit. However, use the tips provided here to protect your feet and legs, and reduce the risks associated with killer high-heeled footwear.