How High Heels Affect Your Body?

May 20, 2019

How High Heels Affect Your Body?-Leafy Souls Vegan Blog Post

High heels are a powerful yet interesting concept. They look fabulous, but they give and take pleasure and pain. How did this item of clothing become such an important part to style and status when we know that the cost of wearing the shoes can be permanent foot deformities, misalignment of the spine and well, possible a broken bone?

Unlike thetravel shoes in the last article, these high heels can be dangerous if not used correctly.  Hurrah shoes, stilettos, wedges - you name it.   

Ancient Heels

High heels date back centuries. As illustrated in ancient Egyptian murals, heels were an old invention worn by both men and women in 3500 BC for ceremonial purposes. Cork soles were popular among Greek and Roman actors who would wear them on stage.

In  Teen Vogue, an interview with Rafael Gomes, the director of fashion exhibitions for the Savannah College of Art and Design told the reporter that the more durable heel started in Persia. It was used as a way for soldiers to grip their feet in the stirrups. Stirrups are part where you put your foot on horse’s saddle. It was engenius at the time.

From Persian Soldiers to Aristocrats

This trend was brought to Europe where aristocrats, who loved being an inch or two taller, quickly took on the item as a must have in their wardrobes. Both men and women loved this new method of displaying their wealth and success. For women, the higher the heel, the taller you were and the more material, or money, you would need for your clothing.

As the generations passed, men’s shoes became wider while women’s shoes became the stiletto.  This tradition lives on with women today. Nothing says special than wearing a high heel and although the trend over the last century is to wear a heel, small or high, recent studies shows that high heels are losing market share in the shoes industry while sneakers have increased.

Modern Studies

Medical evidence has been researching how the stylish shoes affect one’s body. Seeing as heels tend to alter you centre of gravity, there is an increased risk of getting bunions, musculoskeletal pains, varicose veins to name a few. The amount of energy needed to keep balance leads women to push their hips forward and use up their calf, hip and back muscles to the point of muscle fatigue.

Back Pain

High heels are not comfortable, but they do give you extra height and stature. However, the amount of compensation needed to support your back requires a lot of back muscles. The structure of the shoes means that instead of adding support, support is taken away and your weight is not balanced. The back muscles take all the load and this triggers inflamtion and tenderness. The curve of the lumbar spine increases cause your muscles to tighten when they should be relaxed.

Calf Pain

Your calf tendon also has an important part to play in terms of supporting your body when you wear high heels. This additional support means that the calf muscle gets shortened (tightened). If you wear heels everyday, you calf muscles will have to repeat the support and will stiffen at a faster rate. Various exercises are required to loosen the tendon and it is imperative that you do the exercises otherwise your ankles and knees also suffer.  

Painful Feet

IN general, your feet are sore after wearing heels for a few hours let alone the whole day. They have been squished and the arch has been raised for hours, maybe even weeks. The raised arches can result in your ankles, toes, and soles to become painful. A trip to a reflexologist will be able to get those knots out of your feet and give some sort of compensation - but better to take care of your feet and enjoy a massage for relaxation rather than to fix a problem.

Ankle Sprains

Ankle sprains can be quite common, The achilles heel is a vital part of our foot structure. One wrong move, heels or no heels, you twist your ankle and sprain it. The pain is terrible. And if you sprain it once, it will never be the same again. Spraining the ankle can happen during sports, but if you fall while wearing some heels, you can cause permanent damage or even worse, fracture your foot.

The  International Journal of Clinical Practice shows that women wearing 10-cm high heels more than three times a week had much weaker ankles after just a few weeks.

Varicose veins

High heels change the way you walk. This forces the calf muscles to stay contracted and decreases the circulation to the foot and veins.The less blood that is being pumped, the higher the chances are of developing varicose veins which, for women who wear high heels for appearance, is probably not a look you would want to have on your legs.

Hammertoes and Bunions

Joints bend. The more this occurs, the weaker your muscles get and the more your toes are forces into unnatural positions. Wearing any bad shoe, heels included, will result in hammertoes and bunions. Your feet are deformed forever -unless you decide to have corrective surgery.


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S M L XL 2XL 3XL 4XL 5XL
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S M L XL 2XL 3XL 4XL 5XL
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Length, in 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34
Width, in 20 23 24 26 28 30 33 34

 

S M L XL 2XL 3XL 4XL 5XL
Sleeve length, cm 62.9 62.9 62.9 62.9 62.9 62.9 67.9 67.9
Length, cm 68.5 71.1 73.6 76.2 78.7 81.2 83.8 86.3
Width, cm 50.8 55.9 60.9 66 71.1 76.2 81.3 86.3