High Heels High Risk

High Heels High Risk

By Dr Tony Setiobudi BMedSci, MBBS, MRCS, MMed (Ortho), FRCS (Ortho)

For many women, wearing a pair of high heels is the perfect complement to an already perfect outfit. Research has shown that high heels can negatively affect your long-term spinal health, hips, and knees. However, this does not stop women from wearing them. Why is this such a serious problem?

Try standing barefoot, you can feel your weight being evenly distributed among your sole.  Notice the subtle, subconscious adjustments being made at the feet, ankles, knees, hips, and lower back to maintain your upright position. However, this is not the case when wearing heels, where your weight is pressing down towards your toes.

When wearing high heels, the body must adjust its center of gravity. High heels change your walking patterns. After years of wearing high heels, the body will readjust to be used to walking on your tiptoes. Hence you may experience discomfort when wearing flat shoes or walking barefoot.

Research shows that wearing high heels, especially for long periods, alters balance and stability, reduces the range of movement in the lower body muscles and joints. With the habitual wearing of heels, the Achilles tendon and calf muscles is under more pressure. The tendon may shorten, and the muscles can stiffen and reshape, in medical terms, we called it plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis.

If you feel that you are experiencing back pain or leg pain due to high heels then it may be time to see us about your condition. Contact us to get treatment as early as possible.

Dr Tony Setiobudi is an Orthopaedic & Spine Surgeon at Mount Elizabeth Hospital (Orchard), Singapore. He treats bone, joint, muscle and ligament problems in adults and children. He has a special interest in nerve compression and spine problems such as back & neck pain, scoliosis, kyphosis, spine tumor & infection, spinal cord injury, osteoporosis fracture, spinal stenosis and slipped disc.

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