Holiday High Heels

It is the holiday party season, which is a time for getting dressed up to celebrate with family and friends. Many women, especially, seem to be very concerned about watching their weight over the holiday season, but what women rarely seem to worry about is the shoes that they wear. Women’s dress shoes are usually high heeled and very narrow. This design causes short and long term problems to the feet and even the rest of the body.

As the heel height increases and the area for the toes narrows, the more problems will result.  The most common problem with wearing high heels is that the shoes alter walking. Wearing high heels makes the body tilt more forward. Walking with a forward lean will cause mal-alignment of spine, hips, and knees. Even after wearing high heels for one day, the woman will commonly experience low back, hip, and/or knee pain due to the mal-alignment of the body.  

High heels greater than 3 inches, will add at least 7 times more body weight onto the ball of the foot. This extra weight will lead to generalized foot pain or if wearing high heels regularly will lead to more serious foot pain called metatarsalgia. Metatarsalgia is localized pain at the ball of the foot. Wearing high heels for years may result in toe deformities such as hammertoes. A hammertoe is a permanent curling downward or toe contracture from being slammed against the front of the shoes repetitively.

Those who wear high heels greater than 4 inches will have an increased risk of falling and spraining an ankle due to the lack/no ankle support; the risk will increase if celebrating the holiday in a cold icy winter weather destination.  The only time a heel may be beneficial is if the heel base is wide and height is no greater than one inch. One-inch heels will eliminate the strain on the arch, which is called the plantar fascia.

Every woman likes to be fashionable with her shoes, but care must be taken when selecting them. High-heeled shoes are more “okay” if the event has minimal walking or standing, such as going to a dinner. If there is going to be a lot of walking or dancing try to pick shoes with a low heel, around one inch, and a heel that has a broad base. If the shoes are designed to be narrow, make sure the narrowing begins behind the ball of foot because the toes must have room to move.  

Happy holidays!

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