High heels hazard

High heels are present on every woman’s “must have” list. Some wear it as a fashion statement, some to hide their short stature.

Some wear them to create an illusion of long slender legs, others; to have a more seductive gait. Some wear them because it makes them look good, others because it’s “just the norm”.

But most women do not know or do not care that wearing high heels over long period of time can actually be very detrimental. Many of the problems are caused by the increased pressure high heels put on the ball of the foot; the higher the heel, the greater the pressure. The knee and back can also be affected. High heeled shoes have been linked to many foot skin ailments like bunions, hammer toes, corns and calluses.

High heels cause one to put more pressure in the front of the foot makingthe foot point forward and downward (Plantar flexed feet). Because of this the upper body has to lean backwards to maintain body balance. Poor alignment may lead to flattening of the lumbo-sacral spine and core muscle overuse. This can lead to chronic lower back pain. Also, this position causes the knees to be more bent causing more pressure on the quadriceps muscles which stabilize the knee. The bent position also puts more pressure on the medial part of the knee causing early osteoarthritic changes.

High heel shoes cause your foot and ankle to turn in the outward position. This leads to high risk of losing balance and spraining ankles as well. Ankles are also severely affected in women wearing high heels. The calf muscles are chronically shortened due to the plantar flexed position of the feet.  And lead to increased stress on the Achilles’ tendon. Chronic use of heels more than 3 inches can shorten the Achilles’ tendon.

To minimize ‘shoe stress’:
*Buy shoes that fit. Wearing an incorrect shoe size can by itself worsen matters

*  Try wider shoes instead of front narrow shoes

*  Go shoe shopping post afternoon as your feet usually swells up through the day

*  Platforms or chunky heels are better than stilettos as they are more wider and give more support

*  Avoid very high heels and even if you are wearing them try and keep the heel height consistent

*  If you suffer from corns or calluses please visit your local doctor for advice and treatment instead of trying to remove them on your own. Use of emollients can reduce the chances of developing corns

*  Go for regular pedicure

*  Toe and calf stretching exercises are a must to relax the tired muscles. Core strengthening exercises will help to strengthen back muscles which are strained

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