Nothing completes the perfect outfit and makes it sexy than a gorgeous pair of high heels. These lady shoes are glamorous, pretty, eye-catching and add some height that comes in helpful if your gene pool shorted you, allowing you to stand tall. Walking in heels automatically make your walk more feminine, accentuates your legs, and adds confidence. Plus, it gives that oh-so-satisfying sound every time you take a step.
However, high heels have a dark side. If you have worn one for the whole day, you know how uncomfortable it can become. They add a lot of added strain to the feet and legs, put pressure on the joints and cause blisters on the feet and toes. Sometimes, you experience muscle fatigue and ugly bunions. These are some of the reasons why wearing heels sometimes isn’t just worth it anymore.
If you decide to ditch the stilettos, then go. We are not stopping you in fact; this is to encourage you. Here are some great reasons why you must stop wearing high heel shoes:
1. Your legs and calf muscles will actually get longer
Heels can make your legs look long, but ditching them will actually make your legs long, or at least stay on its original length. Observe yourself if you’re a habitual heel wearer you tend to walk with shorter strides, not only when you are wearing heels but also when you go barefoot, right? According to studies, regular wearing of high heels can shorten the Achilles tendon, which is a group of muscles at the base of the calf. It is because when you’re used to walking around with your foot pointed downwards; your heels spend a lot of time up by the ankles, rarely stretching to its full, natural length. This is what causes the calf muscles to shorten, which poses a risk of developing or exacerbating plantar fasciitis – a condition where the muscles at the bottom of the feet become inflamed.
When you stop wearing heels, your calf muscles can stretch back to its normal length, while making your strides less painful. Stretching your legs and calf muscles, foam rolling and walking in flats can help your calves get back to its former length.
2. Your heel pain can subside
Because wearing heels (the shoes) can shorten your calves and the Achilles tendons, it becomes too tight, which causes pain in the heels (the body part). When you suddenly switch back to wearing flats, you bring your foot back to a flat 90-degree angle, relieving the tension from the too-tight tendons. If you’ve practically lived in heels, your tendon will return to its normal length, and your heel pain will subside.
3. You can save your toes from getting hurt
When you regularly wear heels, your toes are also put at risk of negative impacts, such as the loss of physical sensation. Wearing heels can pinch the nerves in and around the toes that causes numbness, or a burning and tingling sensation. When you decide to wear flats again, you take the pressure off the tiny little nerves that pass between the metatarsals and give your toes sensation. It also means you’re at less at risk for causing severe damage to your toes.
4. You will have less chance of bone damage and deformities
Bone damage caused by wearing heels isn’t just a result of accidentally twisting the ankles or falling down a flight of stairs. Bone damage can occur just by walking on heels on a regular basis. Podiatrists say that walking in high heels for an extended period of time can cause cracks and fractures in the bones of the feet. It can make you susceptible to developing bunions and hammertoes. Bunions are bony bumps that develop inside the foot and at the base of the big toe joint, while a hammertoe is an abnormal bend in the toe in the middle joint that causes the toe to look like a hammer. They look awful, and they don’t feel comfortable either.
If you haven’t developed these deformities yet, there’s still a way to avoid them by ditching your heels. Prevention is the key.
5. You’ll reduce harmful knee pain that can cause arthritis
Besides callouses, bunions, and pain in the feet, knee damage can also develop as a result of wearing high heels. When you wear heels, your but sticks out and your center of gravity shifts forward. This causes extra strain on the tendons and ligaments on the knees. A study from Harvard found that wearing two-inch heels puts 23% more pressure on the inner knee as compared to wearing flats. Imagine how much pressure it causes when you wear three-inch heels or higher.
Also, women have twice the chance of developing osteoarthritis in the knees than men. We can’t fully blame it on the heels, but it probably had something to do with it. The added pressure that high heels can pose can cause degenerative changes in the knee joint. If you stop wearing heels, you reduce the impact on your knees.
6. Your back will feel much better
Wearing high heels doesn’t only affect the feet and legs – it also has damaging effects that manifest higher up the body, such as the lower back, middle back, and the neck. Heels can make your butt look amazing because it tilts your pelvis, but this can put a lot of added strain on the lower back and surrounding muscles as you need to shift your weight and entire posture to accommodate it. Regular wearing of high heels can often cause sciatica, chronic leg pain that makes the lower back and gluteal muscles to compensate; and spondylolisthesis, the slippage of one vertebra forward over another that causes back pain. It causes the pelvis to go out of alignment, giving you irritating back pain.
When you take your heels off and take a long break from using them, your spine can return to its proper position, which reduces the stress placed on the lower back. If you are experiencing back pain, please invest in a nice collection of comfortable and supportive flats.
7. You’re at less risk of an ankle injury
Anyone can injure themselves in high heels, even the seasoned fashion model who wears it every day. It’s because wearing heels shifts the natural balance outside of where it’s supposed to be. Wearing heels causes you to bring the balance point in your body to a higher position, making you less stable and much more prone to falling. And of course, the higher the heel, the greater the chances of falling.
When you abstain from heels or only wear it on occasions, the less likely you are to cause injury to your ankles. Your ankles become stronger too in the process.
8. You will be at less risk for fungal infections
A lot of women are willing to endure a lot of discomfort for the sake of fashion. Ladies squeeze into uncomfortable garments like pantyhose, tight-fitting pants, underwire bras, and of course, high heel stilettos and pumps. But do you know that regular wearing of pointed shoes and high heels can cause constant pressures on the toes, especially the big toes? Too much or constant pressure on the toes causes damage and deformities to the toenails, making it more susceptible to fungal infections. And you know they are ugly and gross. If you stop wearing heels, you lessen the likelihood that you will develop nasty fungal infections that will bother you for the rest of your life.
9. Your balance will improve
You may think that women who have mastered the art of striding in high heels have no trouble walking, but they actually do not. They may seem and look confident, but long-term use of high heels alters the neuromechanics of how a person should normally walk. Studies have concluded that long-term high-heel wearers develop compromised muscle efficiency when walking. A study involving South Korean airline attendants found that after just a few years of regular wearing of heels leads to strength imbalances between the muscles on the side of ankles, as well as those in the front and back.
Going flat-footed, on the other hand, can cause the muscles in and on the side of the ankles to work normally, maintaining better ankle stability and balance. Massage, stretching, and yoga can also help minimize the damage.