High heels could actually be posing multiple health risks to the feet of those who wear them. Wearing heels can mess with posture, cause back pain, change anatomy, and cause Foraminal Stenosis; that’s just the back. Dr. James P. Huish DPM, AACFAS said, “Long term use of elevated heels can lead to several complications. The elevated heel will shorten the Achilles tendon over time and can also lead to changes in bone alignment.” Huish said that these changes can do further damage. “This in turn can cause ankle instability and lead to compensatory changes in foot mechanical function,” Huish said. “The downward angle of the foot within a high heeled shoe places more body weight on the ball of the foot and keeps the front of the foot in contact with the ground longer than usual. This increased pressure in turn can cause forefoot pain (metatarsalgia) and increases the incidence of stress fractures.” said Huish.
The shape of the shoe that cradles the foot could injure wearers in unique ways as well, Huish indicated.“The wedged or pointed toe box portion of the shoe abnormally compresses the toes together and can lead to additional pain and deformity.” Huish said.Mark Olsen, DPM Owner/CEO Arcadia Foot & Ankle said, “I don’t recommend high heels to my patients. However if they want to wear them, then I recommend wearing some that are three” or less and have some padding in the shoe.” Olsen felt that there was a tradeoff that those who wear high heels make, between their health and their looks.“My general opinion on heels are, they may look great, however they can cause some serious foot issues. I see many injuries related to high heels in my office daily,” Olsen said.