“High heels are the cherry on top of your outfit and give you a great silhouette. I would never stop wearing heels no matter what study found it to be detrimental to my health because they make me look ‘fire’. Also I would question the legitimacy of such a study because women have been wearing heels for centuries.” These are the words of fashionista Mandi, speaking to The Lounge earlier this week.
She believes that because heels are only worn from 7:00 to 18:00 daily during office hours, you should give your feet a rest and a chance to recuperate after hours and thus possibly reverse any damage that may or may not have been done to your toes, feet, etc.
This may very well be so but the opposite is true for another lady Katrina J who has spent years working in positions where she is required to stand on heels for long periods of time. She now finds that she cannot tolerate high heels and only wears them when it is an absolute necessity.
The origin of high heels can be traced back to the 15th century. Their original purpose was to make members of the aristocracy appear taller and to inspire confidence in their subjects. This is according to Teen Vogue magazine.
In today’s society though, it has become almost standard to see women in heels and the ones who don’t comply, stand out like sore thumbs from the sea of women who parade in heels, albeit uncomfortably so, for most of the time. The fact is that most high heels are uncomfortable.
Yes, beauty = pain and many women make sacrifices for the sake of fashion but wearing heels daily really can cause serious issues with your feet. The higher the heel is, more and more weight and pressure is shifted forward.
Knees and hips are pushed forward and the back has to extend far back to counterbalance it all. It interferes with the whole skeleton and that is why it is bad for you and translates to leg, hip, back pain.
It therefore stands to reason that heels cause the most noticable damage to the feet and ankles. Heels can mess up your toes from being squeezed together too tightly into that great looking pair, your toes can become permanently bent down, you can get bunions and ingrown toenails.
Because the angle of the heel is strenuous to your tendons on your feet, your Achilles tendon could shorten over time and it may even mean that you become uncomfortable in flats as you get older. Also, your foot’s natural cushioning can be worn away from the repeated wearing of heels as it becomes thinner and cause terrible pain. And heaven forbids that you are clumsy in those heels ’cause then you may just end up with a twisted ankle in the process too!
There are some things you can do to manage the damage caused by (over) wearing heels like massaging and stretching your legs at the end of the day. It is also advisable to get rid of shoes that don’t fit you anymore, get wedge heels or platform shoes instead of the thinner heel while alternating with different heel heights during the week and wear commuter shoes.
Walking barefoot as frequently as you can is also helpful to give your feet that much deserved break.
The Lounge spoke to Nikita Winkler, dance trainer at Danc & Heels and she says ‘its important to warm your feet up before you put your heels on. And when you take your heels off, do calve muscle stretches while rolling your feet over a tennis ball. After care is very essential”.
The bottom line (excuse the pun) is, high heels are really not good for your feet but it cannot be expected that you just stop wearing them cold turkey (especially when they make your derriere look so good). So alternate your shoes, make good choices and a few days in your work week, pump it.