High Heels: Potential Health Risks
Are your feet and knees hurting while wearing your favorite pair of heels? Perhaps your back and hips are aching after taking your heels off after a long work day? You may be asking yourself why these high-heeled shoe styles are causing painful effects on your body. Wearing high heel shoes throughout your day or for long periods of time places added stress and pressure on various parts of your body. This extra stress can harmfully affect not only your knees, but also your hips, lower back, and Achilles tendon.
Wmshoe is here to help you dive into the reasoning behind your high heel-induced pain, as well as discuss prevention and adjustment methods that can steer you towards comfort.
1）Firstly, wearing high heels will increase the force on the front of the knee.
The front of the knee is mainly a joint composed of the femur and the patella and the corresponding ligaments. This joint is called the patellofemoral joint.
The scientists used gait analysis to compare the curvature of the knee joint when walking in 1cm and 9.8cm high heels. Later in the results, it was found that when walking in 1 cm high heels, the knee joint was bent from about 5 degrees to 50 degrees, and the knee joint was about 15 degrees to 60 degrees when wearing 9.8 cm high heels.
That is to say, wearing high heels greatly increases the pressure on the patellofemoral joint when walking, which is equivalent to letting it do heavy work and shortening the rest time. So we often hear women who wear high heels all day complaining about being tired.
In addition, some related scholars have found that the higher the heel, the more muscles need to be used to stand up from a chair of the same height, which can also explain why walking the same distance in high heels is more tiring. In fact, our ancestors have been running barefoot throughout the long evolutionary process, and the skeletal joint muscles that we have inherited are more suitable for bare feet than high heels.
2) Secondly, wearing high heels will increase the stress on the inside of the knee.
According to relevant research, the higher the heel, the greater the force on the inner knee, especially if you wear high heels for a long time, the wear on the inner knee will naturally be greater.
3) Thirdly, wearing high heels will increase systemic damage.
In addition to the knee joint, wearing high-heeled shoes will cause the center of gravity of the entire body to move forward, and the heel will be raised. When walking and standing, our knee joint has to be bent, the pelvis will compensatory forward tilt, and the forward curvature of the lumbar and cervical vertebrae will also be increase. Therefore, wearing high heels will not only provoke the knees, but also cause a series of problems such as the cervical spine and the lumbar spine.
How to Prevent or Lessen the Painful Effects
If you are feeling the consequences of constantly wearing heels, there are steps you can take to help combat the aching and discomfort. These suggestions can help decrease the pain you are feeling from wearing high heel shoes.
- First, if you want to wear high heels, you must first do a physical examination. You can use electromyography and other medical equipment to test and evaluate whether it is suitable for you to wear high heels for a long time. Through inspection, you can know whether your knee and lumbar spine are suitable for long-term wearing of high heels.
- Change your shoe choice – Go for flat shoes, or shoes that provide more support and cushion.
- Switch up your exercise routine – Reduce frequent stress on your knees, hips, and lower back while exercising. Rowing, swimming, and the elliptical are low-impact types of exercises that are easier on your joints.
- Minimize the amount of days you wear heels – Try adding flats or wedges to your shoe selection.
- Go for a shorter heel – Heels two inches or less put less pressure on joints.
- Stretch your calves before and after wearing heels – Allow yourself time for lunges or other calf-stretching methods.
- Place cushions in your shoes and heels – Make your shoe choices more comfortable for your feet.
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