5 Great Reasons to Leave Your High Heels in the Closet

High Heels Vs. Flats, Advanced Foot and Ankle Care Los Angeles

Rod Stewart rhapsodized about a girl with “hot legs, right up to her neck”. It’s undeniably true that high heels can create “hot legs”. High heels do make women taller, make their legs look longer, and give the consequent illusion of a slimmer physique.

But to what purpose? Valerie Steele, the director of the Museum of the Fashion Institute of Technology says, “High heels are the number one sartorial symbol of erotic femininity.” Famed designer of iconic high heels Christian Louboutin confessed in an interview that, “The core of my work is dedicated not to pleasing women but to pleasing men.”

In today’s “Me Too” environment, women are increasingly less dedicated to pleasing men. Especially when conforming to these notions of desirability are likely to cause serious and long-lasting physical harm to their feet and ankles.

Here are some good reasons to strictly limit your use of high heels to a few rare and special occasions.

What happens to your body when you wear high heels

What happens to you body when wearing high heelsThe human body is designed so that when we are standing, our weight is born on the entire soles of our feet. When we are walking, our weight is born alternately, first on the heel, and then on the ball of our foot.

But wearing high heels shifts the equation. Your whole body is tilted forward and forces your toes to bend at a severe angle to the rest of your foot. The narrow junction between your toes and the ball of your foot bears your entire body weight.

The rest of your body does its best to compensate for this highly abnormal occurrence. Your chest is pushed forward, and your posterior is pushed back. (Wow, very sexy.)

All this takes your hips and spine out of their proper alignment. In order to maintain this precarious and unnatural posture, the muscles of your calf, buttocks, and back remain in a constant state of tension.

The negative consequences of all this structural displacement are many, and they’re sometimes severe.

Foot pain and high heels go hand in hand

Toe problems

When wearing high heels, all of your body weight forces your toes against the often pointed front of your “killer” heels. This can result in toenail damage, bunions, and hammertoes.

(A bunion is an outward displacement of the joint between your big toe and the innermost of the long midfoot bones. It can be very painful. A hammertoe has been so bent by muscle imbalance and/or external pressure that it looks more like a talon than a toe. It can also cause a lot of discomfort.)

Midfoot problems

High heels force the ankle joint into an unnaturally straight position. This means that the metatarsals, the long bones that connect the toes to the hindfoot, are bearing virtually your entire body weight. The results can include stress fractures in the metatarsals and pain in the ball of the foot called metatarsalgia.

Hindfoot problems

The elevation of your heels contracts and shortens your calf muscles. This doesn’t usually hurt while you are wearing the high heels. But when you go barefoot or don flat footwear, the constricted calf muscles are stretched. This often leads to cramps, muscle spasms, and pain in the Achilles tendon area.

Sprains, strains and fractures

The higher your heel is, the more precarious your balance is. Loss of balance and consequent tumbles cause ligament sprains and strains in tendons or muscles. Torque from more severe twisting injuries can cause ankle fractures.

Skeletal problems

The altered posture and drastic redistribution of weight which inevitably result from wearing high heels prematurely ages your knee and hip joints. This can lead to early onset of osteoarthritis. Another frequent consequence is sciatic pain from compression of the hollow archways (foramen) that shelter the nerves which run through your spine.

Style setters are embracing low heels and flats

5 Great Reasons to Leave Your High Heels in the ClosetA couple of companies have designed high heels intended to restore stability and correct weight distribution. But why compromise? More and more style setters are flaunting their emancipation from fashion slavery. Gal Gadot wore nothing but flats throughout her press tour for “Wonder Women”. Serena Williams wore custom Nikes to complement her wedding gown.

In the New Yorker, Mary Karr concluded a piece on high heels with a cry for independence: “Oh, womenfolk, as we once burned our bras, could we not torch the footwear crucifying us?”

We’re not really telling you to burn all of your stilettos but remember, they’re named after a dangerous weapon. As doctors who see the impact of high heels on women’s feet every day, we again suggest that you strictly limit your use of high heels to a few rare and special occasions.

If you are experiencing problems with your feet or ankles, the doctors at University Foot and Ankle are here to help. Our nationally recognized podiatrists and foot and ankle specialists offer the most advanced foot and ankle care along with the highest success rates in the nation. We are leaders in the field of research and treatment of all foot and ankle conditions.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, please call (877) 736-6001 or visit us at www.footankleinstitute.com.

Dr. Avanti Redkar and the UFAI Education Team

Dr. Avanti Redkar and the UFAI Education Team

Dr. Avanti Redkar is board certified in podiatric medicine and joined University Foot and Ankle Institute under a fellowship in sports medicine and ankle reconstruction. She attended podiatry school at the New York College of Podiatric Medicine and went on to complete her surgical residency at Good Samaritan Hospital in West Islip, New York, where she was trained in foot and rearfoot surgery, wound care, and hyperbaric medicine.

Dr. Redkar specializes in foot and ankle pathology and is available for consult at our Mid-Wilshire Los Angeles and Beverly Hills locations.
Dr. Avanti Redkar and the UFAI Education Team

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