How A Lifetime In High Heels Takes Its Toll On A Woman’s Body

HighHeelsInfogrWomen sacrifice a lot to look good and maintain a high level of fashion. We get up an hour early to do our hair and makeup, we wear tight skirts that are hard to sit down in, we pamper our skin with facials, and spend time at the salon doing manis and pedis, the list can go on and on. One of the biggest pains of many a woman is high heels.

Working women especially spend a lot of time in high heels. This is also true of women who tend to go out to clubs and restaurants in fancy dress clothes that require high heels to complete “the look” of the outfit. High heels can be beautiful and can help a woman gain a height advantage if they believe they are too short; they are also sexy so that women prefer to wear them even though they are less comfortable than loafers or even flats.
Unfortunately, there are great risks to a woman’s body from wearing high heels and the problem isn’t just isolated to the feet.

Back Strain And Arthritis

Women wearing high heels all the time are putting a constant strain on the back, which must compensate for the altered center of gravity seen when a woman is wearing high heels. Back strain, spondylolisthesis, and chronic spinal arthritis can be secondary problems directly related to wearing high heels.

Toes And Nerves

High heels tend to be narrower than regular shoes, pinching the toes together at the distal end of the shoe. This can lead to damage to the nerves that come from the foot and go down to innervate the toes. Narrow shoes can cause a condition called Morton’s neuroma, in which the nerves between the toes and between the metatarsal foot bones can develop a benign tumor causing pain that is best relieved by doing surgery to remove the neuroma.

The Feet

Narrow shoes can lead to bony deformities of the foot. This is especially true of women who wear high heels. Common foot problems leading to foot pain include bunions. This involves an enlargement and deformity of the joint connecting the first metatarsal to the great toe bones. Bunions make it difficult to walk in any type of shoe and can be particularly disfiguring to a woman. The only permanent solution to bunions is to have the bunion removed surgically. It means the woman probably can’t wear high heels again or the bunion will come back.


Arthritic changes are common in women who wear high heels. This is because the woman is putting extra pressure on the ankle and foot joints, leading to degeneration of the joints and osteoarthritis. It presents itself with the gradual onset of bony pain in the joints of the foot so that there is constant stiffness and pain, even when the woman is no longer wearing high heels. Other than taking arthritis, medications and stopping the wearing of high heels can help a woman, cope with this intractable pain. There is no real cure for osteoarthritis secondary to chronic wearing of high heels.

Corns And Calluses

Women in high heels also tend to develop more corns and calluses. These are areas of extra pressure on the skin of the feet, particularly over bony prominences. Corns and calluses can be painful as well as unsightly. Women who have these conditions often need to wear corn pads or see a pediatrics for trimming of calluses and removal of corns. It also means that the woman probably should refrain from wearing high heels in the future or the problem will come right back again.


High heels put a woman at a higher risk of getting a sprained ankle. The body is not well-balanced on high heels so that the woman wearing them is at a greater risk of an “inversion injury” to the ankle. This is when the foot turns inward and the ankle on the outer aspect is sprained or even broken. High heels demand a great deal of coordination when walking and, without that coordination, a twisted ankle, or broken ankle is likely.

Bottom Line

High heels may increase height and they may increase the “sexiness” factor, but they can also contribute to long standing and permanent joint and nerve damage to the wearer. Time in flats or comfortable shoes can go a long way in correcting some of these problems.


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