Heels: Not looking so great on the inside

By Terrah Short

Wearing heels brings the advantages of looking taller, being more stylish, brings a special confidence to women, and enhancing the beauty of a woman’s legs, but do these benefits outweigh the negatives of wearing these complimentary shoes.

Common knowledge among stiletto steppers is the aches that come with being fashionable. Women experience pain in the heels and balls of their feet along with pain along the back of the leg.

When a woman wears heels, the effect on the knee can be as much as a 26 percent pressure increase, and wearing heels causes strain on both the front and back of the knee. The inside of the knee is also a common site of osteoarthritis, pain and stiffness in the joint that can lead to limited mobility or immobility of the joint.

According to the Washington Post,  the increase pressures on the forefoot, the ball of your foot, increases with the height of the heel. One inch adds 22 percent, two inches increases to 57 percent, and three inches raises it to 77 percent increase of pressure on a part of your foot which is not meant to bear that much weight and the prolonged wearing of heels can lead to metatarsalgia, chronic joint pain in the ball of the foot.

The height of a heel added to a narrow toe-box can lead to Morton’s Neuroma, which can create a thickening of tissue around a nerve between the third and fourth toes, and that can lead to pain and numbness in the toes. Tight-fitting shoes can also lead to bunions, which are bony growths at the base of the big toe, which re-angles the big toe towards the other toes, causing pain.

Another ailment caused by a narrow toe-box is hammertoe; the toe-box pushes the little toes to bend at the middle joint, with extensive heel use, this can lead to the muscles in the second, third, and fourth toes to be unable to extend straight, even when they are not being worn.

The American Chiropractic Association pointed out high heels as being a leading cause of bad posture. Severe or abnormal changes in the angle of the feet misalign the entire skeleton. It changes the hip angle and will place that extra weight on the front of the feet.

An immediate risk factor when putting on a pair of high heels, according to Victoria Welch, is stumbling. Wearing heels immediately alters your center of balance, and this changes the general ease of walking.

Heels caught in a crack, miscalculation of the ground, or uneven ground can lead to rolled or sprained ankles or a twisted or sprained knee. Any stumble or fall in heels opens to a high risk of long-term damage or debilitation.

The main rule is to not wear a heel for more than three hours straight without giving your feet some well-deserved support in a padded sneaker, and skipping straight to a ballet flat will not give your feet the comfort your feet need to recover from the strain from the heels.