Heels can hurt you!
A staple fashion accessory for women, high heels have received a lot of flak for their role in causing foot ailments or fractures and even heart disease according to many foot specialists.
Besides the precarious balancing act and falling concerns while wearing high heels, there is further risk of hip trouble and problems with back pain from the stress placed on the spine. Footwear with high heels put a lot of pressure on the ankle, the foot and the knee joints.
We develop ailments like knee arthritis (osteoarthritis), shortening of the Achilles tendon, sciatica and hammer toes. Stressed ankles lead to inflammation which, over time, leads to heart disease. Let us find out what each condition is:
Heels push us forward, which results in increased pressure on the inside of the knee. After bearing the brunt of the extra pressure the ankle, foot and knee joints may get inflamed and the cartilage joints may become weak. This makes the person prone to osteoarthritis. Ageing and obesity are two direct causes of arthritis. Women are more vulnerable to arthritis and ladies’ shoes with high heels are one indirect cause of the disease.
Shortening of the Achilles tendon:
When the heels and ankles are repeatedly placed in a raised position for a prolonged period of time, the calf muscles and Achilles tendon at the back of the ankle become permanently shortened. Heels with height of 3 inches or more can shorten the Achilles tendon.
Sciatica occurs when there is pressure or damage to the sciatic nerve. This nerve starts in the lower spine and runs down the back of each leg. Nerves become trapped, causing shooting pain and numbness in the legs or feet or lower back.
Tight fitting footwear force the wearer to curl her toes into the shoe. Over time, the toes may become permanently bent at the middle joint resulting in a "hammer toe." Mild cases can be treated by switching to flat-heeled shoes but severe cases may require surgery.
Comfort must be chosen over style and footwear with lower heels and proper support should be bought. 1-1.5 inch heels are recommended but stilettos should be not be worn very often. Wearing heels occasionally once or twice a week is okay provided frequent breaks are taken and feet are rested too.
Do keep a few things in mind while shopping for heels. Try to choose open-toe heels as they put less pressure on the toes. A thicker heel will spread the load more evenly and heels with ankle straps will help keep them on our feet. For better protection, stockings ( at least in winter) can be worn. Also, wear soft insoles or foot cushioning pads around the ball of the foot and make sure your shoes are of a good fit so the foot doesn't slide forward, putting even more pressure on the toes.