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High Heels: Cute or Killer?

  • Category: Women's Health
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Baton Rouge General
High Heels: Cute or Killer?

By Shavaun Cotton, MD - Baton Rouge General Physicians

For centuries, women have gone the extra mile in the name of beauty. We all love a little extra height, but are those five-inch heels really worth it?

Besides the blisters, bunions, ingrown toenails and callouses that can damage your feet, what’s happening to the rest of your body is even worse. The foot contains 26 bones, 33 joints and over 100 tendons, muscles, and ligaments all working together to help you stand, climb, steady yourself and balance your body’s weight. When you add high heels to that equation, your calves attempt to adjust to the new angle of your foot, causing them to shorten and tighten. There goes that yoga workout you just did to loosen and lengthen!

When you slide into your heels, think about how the rest of your body reacts. Your chest presses forward, throwing your center of gravity off. Your lower back then compensates by pushing your hips and spine out of alignment. All that extra pressure is placed on your knees and the balls of your feet. This is why many women complain of back, knee and leg pain at the end of a long day of wearing heels.

If you can’t imagine life without high heels, here are some ways to lessen the damage:

  • Pick a shorter heel, 2 inches or less – this reduces the unnatural angle of the foot.
  • Add extra cushion inserts – this helps with the added pressure on your knees.
  • Wear higher heels on days that don’t require a lot of standing or walking.
  • Buy the right size shoe! Wearing shoes that are too small increases friction that causes those nasty blisters and ripped toenails.
  • Ditch the pointy toes for a wider toe box – this helps reduce foot pain.
  • Do foot stretches to help relieve tight muscles and tendons.
    • Use a rolling pin, tennis ball, bottle of water, or a small canned good. In a sitting position, slowly roll your foot back and forth over the object from the ball of your foot to the heel for about a minute.

You can also wear flats to work and slip on your heels when you need them. Making small changes now can help prevent complications later.

Shavaun Cotton

Shavaun Cotton, MD
Baton Rouge Family Medical Center

Phone: (225) 763-4500

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