From Christian LouBoutin to Giuseppe Zanotti to Jimmy Choo. We’ve all admired these gorgeous tall heels. They often come in beautiful colors that change with the season and sometimes are adorned in dazzling studs and stones. Celebrities such as Beyonce, Prince, LaLa Anthony, Rihanna, and countless cast members of several reality television shows are almost always photographed in heels. Miami rapper Trina even dedicated a track to Christian LouBoutin’s line on her latest mixtape.
“Six inches, red bottoms, long heels, I got them … feels like I’m walking on clouds, so high, so fly in here/ get it yea get it yea,” she spits on “Red Bottoms.” As cute as that line was, no matter how expensive the shoe, a six inch pair of heels doesn’t feel like clouds. Ask Patti LaBelle. She’s known for kicking off her expensive shoes during a performance. You would think that the more expensive a shoe is, the more comfort you will receive, but unfortunately that isn’t so. But this piece isn’t about ragging on highly priced shoes. It’s about how those cute long heels (no matter what the price or who made them) can affect your health if you wear them consistently.
Heels higher than two inches have been connected to several health issues. The most obvious are ankle sprains, bunions, hammer toes, shortened calf muscles, torn achilles tendons, and stress fractures. More serious ailments linked to high heel wearing are osteoarthritis, plantar fasciitis, Morton’s neuroma, and Freiberg infraction. Unless you are a pediatrist or chiropractor, you probably have no idea what that all even means.
Osteoarthritis is the chronic breakdown of cartilage in the joints, which leads to pain, stiffness, and swelling. Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation in the band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot. Morton’s neuroma is when an injury to the nerve between the toes takes place, and Freilberg infraction is when foot bones die due to the lack of circulation.
I’m sure that sounds like a lot, but that’s only a small fraction of what can happen due to years of wearing long heels. Your feet aren’t the only part of your body that can be affected. Misalignment often takes place. Whenever heels are worn your body’s alignment is altered. The elevation of your heels puts more of your body’s weight on your toes, which causes your pelvis to tilt forward. You unconsciously lean backward and overarch your back, in order to remain upright. This creates a posture that can strain your hips, knees, and lower back. Wearing heels can also cause anterior loading or uneven dissemination of weight on the front part of the knee, causing knee pain.
Although this is serious and shouldn’t be taken lightly, don’t throw away all of your heels just yet. The key to avoiding what’s mentioned above is to be selective in the types of shoes you wear and how often you wear them. Below are some tips to help you.
Vary Your Choices and Styles
If you’re into wearing six inch heels, just be sure to switch it up and wear 2 inch heels, shorter flats, or sneakers on occasions. Wedge heels are also a great alternative. They provide more stability than stilettos. For an instant variety, carry a pair of flat comfortable shoes with you to change into after hours of wearing heels.
Be Sure To Stretch
Doing yoga poses such as High and Low Lunge and Standing Forward Fold will stretch your calves, hip flexors, and hamstring muscles.
Wear In Soles
Sometimes, the manufactured soles of shoes (especially heels) just aren’t enough. To add extra comfort, purchase a pair of in soles. There are a variety to choose from.
Pay Attention to Shape
Square boxed heels allow your feet to sit more naturally than in pointed ones. To avoid toe injury and pain all together, go for open toe shoes (if weather permits of course).
Visit a Chiropractor or Podiatrist
After all a professional can assist you with staying pain and injury free.