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Although wearing high heels is commonly associated with style and a heightened sense of confidence in women, it is imperative to notice the effects on one’s health and body. Apart from their attractive appeal, wearing high-heeled shoes regularly can cause a lot of health problems that can affect the musculoskeletal system in our body as a whole in addition to one’s feet. In a conversation with Jagran English, Dr. Sampat Dumbre-Patil, Consultant Orthopaedic & Director of Orthopaedics at Sahyadri Super Speciality Hospital, Hadapsar explained how wearing high heels affects our body and health.……CONTINUE READING>>>

Effects Of Wearing High Heels On Body

Foot Problems and Structural Changes

The allure of high heels comes at the expense of foot health. Long-term use is linked to various foot deformities, including bunions, hammertoes, neuroma, and equines. These conditions may progress to a point where surgical correction becomes necessary. The pressure exerted on the forefoot increases with heel height, causing pain, deformities, and structural changes.

Impact on Posture

The higher the heels, the greater the impact on posture. For each inch of heel height, the pressure on the forefoot rises by 25%. Extra-high stilettos force the body to lower its centre of gravity, leading to an unnatural curvature in the lower back. This persistent strain on the spine can result in long-term discomfort and complications.

Gait and Balance Issues

The elevated height of heels contributes to an altered gait, often described as a lumbered, giraffe-like walk. Maintaining balance becomes challenging, akin to walking on a balance beam. The need to place extra weight on the balls of the feet to stay steady can lead to damage to the bones and connective tissues over time.

Effect on Back, Hips, Knees, and Ankles

High heels impose stress on the back, causing a flattening of the lumbar spine and a hyper-curved position in the mid-back. The persistent flexed position induced by heels affects the hip flexor muscles, potentially causing lower back and hip pain. Knee osteoarthritis becomes more prevalent due to the increased distance from the floor to the knee, altering knee torque. Ankles experience limited motion and power, leading to conditions like insertional Achilles tendonitis.

Impact on Feet and Toes

Pressure on the forefoot intensifies with the height of the heel, resulting in foot deformities like bunions and neuromas. The toe box of high-heeled shoes forces toes into abnormal positions, leading to hammertoes, corns, calluses, and blisters.

Overall Impact on the Body

High heels not only affect the feet but also induce muscle strain, joint pain, spinal misalignment, and balance issues, and contribute to joint degeneration. The disruption of the body’s natural form can extend beyond the feet, causing low back, neck, and shoulder pain. While high heels may enhance aesthetic appeal, it is crucial to acknowledge the potential health implications associated with their regular use. Prioritising foot health and considering alternative footwear options can help mitigate the risks and maintain overall well-being.

According to Dr Gurinder Bedi- Principal Director- Orthopedics at Fortis Hospital, Vasant Kunj chronic wearing of high heels can contribute to the development of long-term foot deformities and structural issues. It can also increase the risk of degenerative joint diseases in the feet and lower limbs. To mitigate the negative effects of wearing high heels, it’s essential to practice moderation, opt for lower heels or flats whenever possible, and perform stretching exercises to alleviate muscle tightness.

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