High Heel Health Hazards

Q: Is it true that wearing high heels are bad for your back as well as your feet?

A: Yes. It is widely known that wearing high heels often results in the development of foot problems including bunions, heel pain, toe deformities and trapped nerves. However, the foot is not the only region of the body that suffers from wearing high-heeled shoes on a regular basis.

The ankles, knees, hips and back also pay the price of staying in style with high heel footwear trends. The president of the American Academy of Podiatric Medicine, William Olson, DPM, explains: When wearing high-heeled shoes, the feet are held in a downward position as you walk. This keeps the knees, hips and lower back in a slightly flexed position, preventing certain muscle groups from stretching out as they normally would while walking. Stiffness, pain and injury can gradually result. Since wearing high heels causes your body to tilt forward abnormally, excess pressure is applied to the back leading to lower back strain over time.

Dr. Olson’s advice to those who won’t give up wearing high heels: Don’t wear them every day and opt for lower ones. Alternate days in high heels with days in flats or low-heeled pumps. He adds, when shopping for shoes, avoid ones that pinch and crowd the toes into a little triangle.