Are Your Shoes Making You Sick? Find Out What High Heels Do To Your Body

I have a love/hate relationship with high heels. I love that they make me look taller (because I’m short) and that they lift up my butt. I also love that they instantly make me look and feel more glamorous. But I hate, hate, hate how much they hurt. Wedges, I can deal with. I can rock a pair of platform wedges all day with little to no uncomfortable feelings. But anything else? Ouch.

And, apparently, more than just “ouch.” Yet another study has come out to warn women against the dangers of wearing high heels on a regular basis. Those sky-high stilettos may look amazing and may make you feel sexy right now, but in a few years or sooner, you’ll probably regret that decision to wear them. Can your shoes make you sick? Yes, they can. And don’t assume this isn’t affecting you – this new study says that the younger you are, the worse it can be.

This study shows that nine out of ten women who wear high heels have experienced problems with their feet at some point in their lives. Nine out of ten! In case you’re bad at math (don’t feel bad, me too), that’s 90 percent and that’s a lot.

So how are high heels basically ruining your lives? Besides the fact that they feel incredibly painful (also according to this study, you start to feel the pain after an hour and six minutes, but trust me, if you’re wearing 5-inch heels, you’ll feel it after five minutes), they’re also doing real and serious damage to your feet, especially if they don’t fit you properly. This new research also found that a third of the women involved in the study admitted to wearing heels that were too small because they looked good but weren’t available in their size. Eek. No good, ladies.

Podiatrist Mike O’Neill told the Daily Mail that trying to squeeze your feet into shoes that are clearly too small for you can cause damage like arthritis, stress fractures and trapped nerves. If this doesn’t sound like a big deal, consider the fact that these things can eventually require surgery. So, it’s a pretty big deal.

single sole heels

Single sole heels – cute, but deadly. Sort of. | Source: ShutterStock

Oh, but it doesn’t stop there. Wearing heels shortens the Achilles tendon in your foot, which in turn causes you a lot of pain when you try to wear flat shoes. Once you start wearing heels a lot, not even comfy flats can save you! Heels can also cause icky things like corns, cracked heels, Athlete’s foot and bunions. And, as this study shows, a lot of women don’t even pay attention to these pains. 20 percent of women never get medical help because they assume it’s no big deal – it’s just part of wearing heels.

How does this work? Here’s what’s happening when you wear high heels, in the words of Mike O’Neill: “The higher the heel, the more they tilt your body forward and the more you have to lean back to compensate. This can put your pelvis out of alignment and cause compression of the spine. High heels ram your foot forward, which squishes your toes together and can cause ingrown toe nails, rough areas of skin, blemishes and calluses.”

Love the extra height a heel gives you? O’Neill points out that platforms and wedges are much better for you since these kinds of heels keep your feet more even than, say, stilettos. I know, I know – the trend for the summer is single sole heels (basically, not platforms). Every single fashion magazine I’ve read in the last few months has had an article praising single sole heels, as if trying to convince all the women out there, as well as themselves, that they are, in fact, better than platforms. Writers say, “They’re more elegant!” “They make your legs look less clunky!” “They’re classic.” Okay, guys, I get it. But they’re not better than platforms and you’ll never convince me of that. They’re uncomfortable and they’re painful and I don’t want bunions.

I don’t know about you guys, but I’ll be sticking to my platforms and wedges and I suggest you do the same. Unless, you know, you don’t want to wear heels at all. Good for you! Seriously. I’m sure in twenty years, we will all be extremely jealous of your beautiful feet. Also, one more suggestion: don’t buy heels that are too small on you. You’re asking for pain.

Do you wear high heels a lot? Do you like wearing heels? Do you wear platforms and wedges or stilettos and single sole shoes? Are you going to stop? Tell me in the comments! 


Find out why one girl refuses to wear high heels

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