/ 5 min

Why High Heels Are Killing Your Feet

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By: KURU Footwear

High heels, with their sleek design and promise of added height, have long been a staple in many wardrobes. From red carpet events to corporate boardrooms, these shoes have graced the feet of countless individuals. However, beneath the allure, lies a hidden truth many are unaware of: the potential harm they can inflict on our feet.

From altering the natural alignment of the foot to exerting excessive pressure on specific areas, high heels can lead to foot-related issues. Below we’ll delve into the reasons why your favorite pair of pumps might be doing more harm than good, and why it’s essential to be informed about the choices we make for our feet.

Key Takeaways

  • Wearing high heels can cause long-term damage to the body, including altering the natural alignment of the spine, worsening bunions and corns, increasing the risk of osteoarthritis, and shortening muscles and tendons.
  • High heels can lead to sciatica, shooting pains, numbness, and tingling in the lower back that spreads to the hips, buttocks, and one or both legs.
  • Regular stretching and wearing comfortable shoes like KURU shoes can help alleviate the pain and damage caused by wearing high heels.

Your Spine Loses its Proper Alignment

Slipping into a pair of high heels can instantly elevate your style, but it also shifts your center of gravity forward. While the increased pressure on the balls of your feet is evident, the subtle changes in your body’s posture might go unnoticed. To counteract this shift and maintain equilibrium, your body instinctively pushes your chest forward and arches your back.

This adaptation disrupts the spine’s natural “S” curve, potentially leading to conditions like sciatica. Sciatica is characterized by the compression of the sciatic nerve, resulting in sharp pains, numbness, and tingling sensations that radiate from the lower back to the hips, buttocks, and down one or both legs. Continuously wearing high heels can have lasting effects on your body’s posture. The more frequently you wear them, the harder it becomes for your body to revert to its natural and healthy alignment.

High heels put the foot at an angle and pull muscles and joints out of alignment, so the effects aren’t limited to the feet.”

– Dr. Sajid A. Surve, Osteopathic Medicine

Bunions and Corns Get Worse

Most heels are designed with a narrow, tapered toebox to give the foot a slimmer appearance. While this design may enhance the aesthetic appeal, making the foot look more feminine, it can lead to significant discomfort. The tight fit of the toebox is a primary cause of bunions and corns in women. In fact, studies have shown that bunions are 10 times more prevalent in women than in men.

If an individual already has bunions or corns, wearing high heels can exacerbate the condition. Additionally, the prolonged use of such footwear can lead to the development of hammertoes and ingrown nails. These conditions, in turn, are highly prone to painful and unsightly fungal infections.

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Increased Risk of Osteoarthritis

Knee osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease, is notably more prevalent in women than in men, and its progression can significantly lead to disability. This condition has been the subject of numerous studies, one of which was conducted by a dedicated team of researchers from Stanford University Medical Center. They embarked on an in-depth investigation to understand the effects of high heels on an individual’s gait and the potential repercussions this might have on the knees.

The act of wearing high heels necessitates a more pronounced bending of the knees than what is typical. This altered posture results in augmented pressure on the knee joints and hips. While there are undoubtedly numerous factors contributing to the onset and progression of osteoarthritis, it’s clear that the habitual wearing of high heels is a contributing factor.

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Shortened Muscles and Tendons

When you consistently wear stilettos or platform shoes, your body’s biomechanics, particularly the spine, muscles, and tendons, undergo adaptations. Over time, even transitioning back to sneakers, sandals, or other flat footwear can pose risks, potentially leading to strains or injuries. The muscles in your calves, hamstrings, and lower back might experience contraction, leading to a shortened state. Similarly, the Achilles tendon and other foot tendons might not only shorten but also undergo hypertrophy, thickening in response to the stress.

This altered foot anatomy and biomechanics increase the risk of missteps. A simple misalignment or imbalance can result in a twisted foot or a sprained ankle. Moreover, the muscle modifications can trigger discomfort, cramps, and spasms, affecting your daily activities and exercise routines. Chronic wearers of high heels might even face conditions like Haglund’s deformity, a pronounced bony protrusion on the heel’s rear, causing significant discomfort and necessitating medical intervention.

Many women who wear high heels often suffer a shortening of the Achilles tendon because once the heel is pointed upwards, it tightens up. Stretching it again or switching to flats can be very painful; it can even lead to plantar fasciitis.”

– Dr. Natalie A. Nevins, Osteopathic Physician

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Alleviate Foot Pain With KURU

Footwear plays a pivotal role in maintaining the health and well-being of our feet. The shoes we choose not only influence our daily comfort but also have long-term implications on our foot health, posture, and overall body alignment. Wearing ill-fitting or unsupportive shoes, like high heels, can lead to various foot-related issues, from bunions and corns to more severe conditions like osteoarthritis. It’s essential to understand that our feet are the foundation of our body, and the right footwear can make all the difference in ensuring they remain healthy and pain-free.

In addition to choosing the right footwear, incorporating regular stretching exercises into your routine can significantly benefit foot health. Stretching helps to improve flexibility, reduce muscle tension, and enhance circulation, which can be particularly beneficial after wearing restrictive footwear like high heels. Simple stretches targeting the calves, arches, and toes can alleviate discomfort and prevent potential foot issues. By dedicating a few minutes each day to foot-focused stretches, you can further ensure the longevity and well-being of your feet, complementing the support provided by quality footwear.

In the quest for the perfect blend of style and comfort? KURU shoes are designed with patented technology that caters to various foot types, ensuring optimal support and alignment. Beyond just aesthetics, KURU prioritizes foot health, offering a range of footwear that promises not only to alleviate pain but also to provide lasting comfort. When you choose KURU, you’re not just selecting a shoe; you’re investing in the future health of your feet.

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