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Certified Personal Trainer. Health Foodie. Wife. Mom.

High Heels: Fashion vs. Health


High heels can turn a simple outfit into a freakin’ cute one. My question is, are high heels really worth the discomfort when you consider the health risks involved?

The Stiletto Effect

Here’s what Stilettos are doing for your overall health:

Stilettos not only can cause aching feet, but they can also cause long-term ankle, knee, and back damage.

Dr. Conin, a biochemist at the University of Finland, says that women who wear heels actually walk differently, and more dangerously, compared to women who wear flats – even after they’ve taken off their stilettos!

Women who wear heels have an increased amount of bone-on-bone force in the knee, damaging the muscles and tissue around the knee joint which can lead to osteoarthritis.

If you wear high heels every day, your calf muscles can shorten by up to 13%. This means that your heels will cause your lower leg to be stiff and will limit your ankle’s range of motion.

The higher the heel, the more out of alignment your hips and spine are going to be. The heels push your body’s center mass forward, which adds pressure to your forefoot and your back has to compensate to stay balanced.

The Switch

When you are ready to make the switch from stilettos to flats, you shouldn’t make the switch all at once. When women wear heels on a regular basis, their feet come accustomed to the position their feet need to be in while wearing stilettos. Any sudden changes could result in a painful injury, so you need to start “weaning” yourself off of the high heels! Start by taking your high heels off when you are sitting down (such as your desk at work) and then slowly start incorporating more comfortable shoes throughout the week. You can go from wearing flats just one day a week, then go to two days a week, etc.

Heels in Moderation

I’ll be one of the first ones to tell you how much I love high heels. Well, the look of them anyways!

I used to wear heels every day to work, until I hurt my back and was forced to wear flats every single day. I am “allowed” to wear heels now, but I choose to limit how often I wear them since I am much more aware of how high heels affect my back and overall health.

I only wear heels about once every two weeks! I will usually wear my heels for special occasions or short durations, and I have learned to shop for – and appreciate – cute flats. I have found that overall, I feel that I look better when my feet are comfortable – and no, I do not wear ugly flat shoes. Puh-lease! ;)

Image Credit: Tooga/The Image Bank/Getty

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