The Skinny on High Heels

high heel shoes


For some women, high heels are a part of their daily wardrobe. The way that heels elongate your legs can make an outfit work just right and give a little vertical boost are just some of the reasons that we are attracted to them. But the sad truth is that wearing heels all the time is not good for your body.


From toes getting pinched (which can cause cosmetic issues like blisters, ingrown nails, corns and bunions) and a lack arch support that can do structural damage, sadly it goes deeper than that. When we step into our heels, it instantly throws off your spinal alignment, causing your lower back to be pushed forward, which then takes your hips and spine out of their natural stance. No matter how comfortable they might be, walking in heels means walking on an incline, which places a lot of pressure on your lower back, knees and the balls of your feet.


When you wear high heels all the time, you may be at risk for pain that could be avoided, but you can learn to compromise the love for heels with your health with a few simple tips:


  • Choose heels that fit you well and don’t pinch or bunch your toes
  • Try to limit how long you’re in your beloved high heels
  • Shorter heels create less of an incline
  • Try not to walk long distances in heels
  • Carry a pair of flats to change into when possible
  • Consider saving your sky-high heels just for special occasions
  • Stretch your feet and your hamstrings regularly
  • Manage blisters or corns as soon as you notice them


The Health Spine Institute conducted an interesting study[1] where they found:

  • 28% of women never wear heels, while 72% of women sometimes do.
  • 31% wear them for work
  • 71% wear them for special occasions
  • 33% wear them to go dancing


Their study also shows that fewer women wear them daily today than twenty years ago, and the wearers decline their use of heels as they age.


The truth is, we love our heels and they are not going anywhere anytime soon, but with “wise wearing” you can save your precious feet unnecessary pain and discomfort.










  1. Melissa

    High heels were designed by misogenists to torture women! I am so pleased that you have brought this issue up. My husbands used to do the anaesthetics for an orthopaedic surgeon who specialized in the foot and ankle. He was kept very busy with the injuries and complications caused to feet by wearing high heels. The dreadful bunions, plantar fasciitis, and hammer toes which crippled his patients to the point that they were willing to undergo a surgery that would keep them of their feet for months as they recovered is testament to the dreadful damage that heels cause. You don’t mention that high heels also stiffens the Achilles tendon so that it has difficulty stretching to its normal position and causes Achilles tendonitis.
    Super high heels are also an orthopaedic surgeon’s best friend as they are responsible for most of the fractured lower leg and ankle injuries treated by orthopaedic surgeons in women. I think the orthopods should have shares in the high heel shoe industry. The spinal problems are just another good reason not to wear them. Interestingly, neither I , nor his wife and daughter, wear high heels. I might look better in them, but I won’t suffer painful feet as I age for the sake of vanity! It is about as sensible as getting a sun tan to give you a beautiful bronzed glow in youth, and having a deeply wrinkled face and skin cancers as an old woman.

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