We know, we know. We can already hear you saying, “But I love my high heels”. Aesthetically, high heels make the shape of a woman’s leg more appealing yet it seems the prettiest shoes are the most dangerous. Unfortunately, high heels are the poorest shoe choice for your health, propelling your entire body out of alignment, and altering your gait. What’s a girl to do? We’re not suggesting you become a fashion “don’t”, however there are some things you should ponder before buying your next pair of high heels.
First, some facts:
- Every day in the US, there are over 28,000 ankle sprains.
- 55% of those go untreated as “just a sprain”.
- An untreated sprain may lead to future instability, early arthritis, exercise difficulty, and balance issues
- High heels pull the muscles and joints out of sync with the rest of your body, causing back and knee pain.
- 42% of women 25-49 years of age wear heels daily; 34% of women over 50 wear them as well.
- In 1986, 60% of women wore heels daily; that has decreased today to below 39%. Women are now opting for more comfort and there are many well- known brands offering sophisticated choices.
- A 1” heel puts 22% of body weight on the ball of your foot; a 2” heel places 57% of your weight; and a 3” heel puts a whopping 76% of your body weight on the forward foot. Ouch.
So, how can you be fashionable and healthy at the same time? Some tips:
- Avoid wearing high heels on a daily basis; vary your shoe choices to rotate heel heights.
- When wearing heels, limit wear to 4 or 5 hours at a time.
- Limit heel height to 2”; if you need more height, choose a platform with an incline of a couple inches. A “kitten” heel (a one inch, tapered skinny heel) is a fashionable alternative.
- Avoid pointed toe boxes that squeeze your toes together; if you want a pointed look, make sure your toes have room in the toe box before the shoe tapers (a pointy toe high heel may cause ingrown toenails).
- Our feet tend to expand as the day progresses so purchase shoes later in the day for the best fit.
- Perform daily calf stretches.
- Shoes that are too large may cause blisters from friction when walking; leather insoles will help keep your foot from sliding inside the shoe.
- Choose a thicker heel rather than a skinny stiletto for better balance.
- Many savvy shoe brands are making dressy flats so why not opt for a pair?
If your feet or ankles have suffered the wear and tear of time in high heels, the physicians at Sarasota Orthopedic Associates can help get you back on your feet. We have convenient locations in Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch, Venice, and Bradenton and are able to accommodate same day appointments when needed. For more information go to our website at www.SOA.md or give us a call at 941-951-2663. Our commitment is to get our patients back on their feet, back to work, back in the game, and back to life.
Sources: American Podiatric Medical Association; American Osteopathic Association; Medical Daily; Women’s Health