Physician's Weekly
December 16, 2022
High heel shoes – Fashion vs Health

High heels add inches to a lady’s stature and significantly transform her appearance by exaggerating her lumbar curvature while augmenting her pelvic tilt. This in turn pushes out her chest and her backside, while enhancing her calves, ultimately, emphasizing the wearer’s femininity.
There is no doubt that high heels make ladies look good. Hence, they are a staple of many ladies’ wardrobes. However, there are a plethora of adverse health consequences associated with the long-term wearing of high heels.

History of high heels

The wearing of high heels transcend many cultures throughout history. The earliest documented evidence of the wearing of high heels, in the form of platform shoes, is by Egyptian butchers in 3,500 BC. The heels allowed them to avoid the slaughtered animals’ blood. While the original wearing of high heels was linked to necessity, today the wearing of such is almost exclusively linked to fashion with shoe manufacturers and distributors zealously marketing this style in footwear to women, men, and non-binary individuals, alike.

Why women wear high heels

There have been a number of studies that have identified the following reasons for women wearing high heels:

  • Accentuate the feminine gate and draw attention to some of a woman’s most attractive physical features. She’s perceived as more enticing by both men and women.
  • If in need, men are more likely to help a woman wearing heels.
  • Adds to her height.
  • Increases a woman’s self-confidence.
  • Women wearing heels are more persuasive.
  • They are considered by many an art form.
  • Used by some to attract others.
  • May be considered a status symbol because high heel shoes are more expensive.
  • Women wearing such are often perceived as being more classy and professional

The regular wearing of high heels can result in a range of health consequences for the wearer.

Below I’ve outlined some:

  • There is an increased risk of falls and injuries due to instability. This becomes more challenging while attempting to navigate varying surfaces and inclines.
  • Chronic low back pain is often reported because of the significant alteration in posture resulting in the overuse of the low back muscles.
  • Over contraction of the hips’ flexor muscles frequently results in the permanent shortening of these muscles and chronic hip pain.
  • Osteoarthritis of the knee, and knee pain, is more common as a result of increased compression in the vicinity of the inner aspect of the joint.
  • Over time there is a significant shortening of the calf muscle resulting in tendonitis of the attached Achilles tendon where it inserts into the heel bone. Calf pain is often reported.
  • The increased pressure on the forefoot is directly proportional to the height of the heel. One inch heels increase the pressure by 25%, while 3” heels by 75%. This greater pressure significantly increases the chances for the development of bunions, hammertoes, plantar fasciitis, metatarsalgia, ingrowing nails, stress fractures, Morton’s neuromas, blisters, calluses, and corns.
  • Those who wear heels all day increase their respiratory rate which in turn can damage the vocal cords.

Author: Dr. C. Malcolm Grant – Family Physician, c/o Family Care Clinic, Arnos Vale, www.familycaresvg.com, [email protected], 1(784)570-9300 (Office), 1(784)455-0376 (WhatsApp)

Disclaimer: The information provided in the above article is for educational purposes only and does not substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult a medical professional or healthcare provider if you are seeking medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment. Dr. C. Malcolm Grant, Family Care Clinic or The Searchlight Newspaper or their associates, respectively, are not liable for risks or issues associated with using or acting upon the information provided above.