Bethany Aitken, clinical services manager at AXA Health, explains how wearing high heels can affect your musculoskeletal system, and what you can do to take better care of your feet and help reduce the chance of damage to your body.
You don’t have to toss out your favourite wedges or strappy sandals, the key to preventing problems that may result from wearing high heels is to avoid wearing them day in and day out.
Why are high heels an issue?
The most common health problems caused by high heels are felt in your feet. The highest heels – over five inches – place the most strain on the body. The higher the heel, the greater the pressure on the front of your foot.
For every inch of heel height, you increase the pressure on the forefoot by another 25%. Wear an 8cm heel (just over 3”) and the pressure increases to about 75% more than normal1.
The result? Unnatural loading of the forefoot can lead to:
- hammer toe deformities becoming more painful (the toe is bent at the middle joint, so that it resembles a hammer)2,
- bunions being more painful,
- and thickening of the nerves between the toes - Morton’s neuroma
If you wear high heels daily you may also find that your Achilles tendon at the back of your ankle changes, becoming tight, thickened and shortened.