You don’t have to be a brain surgeon to figure out that high heels are bad for your feet. But who knew those six-inch stilettos could also cause posture problems, skin irritations, and even toe deformities?
“High heels put all your body’s weight on our forefoot, causing you to adjust the rest of your body to maintain balance,” says Dr. Ava Shamban, board certified dermatologist and author of Heal Your Skin. “The bottom half of your body leans forward so the top half must lean back—this disrupts the normal ‘S’ curve of your back, flattening your lower spine and displacing your mid-back and neck. It is very difficult to maintain good posture in this position—not only is it detrimental to the health of your spine, ‘stooped over’ is not a sexy look!”
Doctors say high heels can also cause structure and skin problems for your feet. “With the foot in a downward position, there is a significant increase in the pressure on the bottom plantar of the forefoot, which can lead to pain or deformities such as hammer toes, bunions, and more. The downward foot position also causes your foot to supinate, or to turn to the outside. Not only does this put you at risk for a sprained ankle, it changes the line of pull of the Achilles tendon and may cause a deformity known as ‘pump bump,’” Dr. Shamban says.
The best way to avoid any high-heel mishaps? Switch between heels and sneakers as much as possible and save the sky-high ones for the shortest stints possible (like wearing out to dinner when you’ll likely be sitting most of the evening).