Nowadays, heels are still considered a sign of elegance and a fashion accessory that persists over time by adapting to new trends. Many women wear this type of shoe to parties or special events , since we are faced with a garment that increases the waist by slimming the legs and bringing glamor to the combination chosen for that day. But, how do high-heeled shoes affect our feet and our health in general?
1. WHY ARE HEELS SO HARMFUL?
The continued use of heels can be harmful for many reasons:
– Generates a muscle shortening on the entire posterior muscle pulley of the leg (Achilles tendon, gastrocnemius, soleus and hamstrings) directly proportional to the height of the heel used continuously.
– Generates a significant overload in the metatarsal area directly proportional to the height of the heel. For example, using a 10 cm heel, more than 90% of our body weight falls on the metatarsal area (area behind the fingers).
– Promotes the appearance of bunions and claw toes . This is favored by the tips that usually come with high-heeled shoes.
– Generate a higher load in the front area of the knee .
– Increase lumbar lordosis.
– Generates a more unstable ride, favoring the appearance of sprains , for example. This is more pronounced in women who also have pes cavus (the highest arch) as this is already a more unstable foot.
– callos y hardness due to continuous friction.
HIGH-HEELED SHOES CAN CAUSE INJURIES OR AILMENTS SUCH AS OVERLOADS, SPRAINS, THE APPEARANCE OF BUNIONS, ETC.
2. CAN THEY HURT US? HOW ARE THESE INJURIES TREATED?
Injury will be a consequence of prolonged use . Some will take the form of pain in the metatarsal area after continued use and others, especially muscular, may occur just when we stop wearing heels.
If a muscle shortening has been generated, for example, in the calf due to the continued use of a high heel, and the woman starts going “suddenly” with flat shoes, this shortened musculature will be subjected to much more of tension reaching to produce in some cases muscle tears . It is very common for women who wear heels all year round to have problems in summer when lowering the height like plantar fasciitis , muscle overloads in the legs, lumbago, and so on.
EACH INJURY WILL NEED TO BE TREATED SPECIFICALLY, BUT AS GENERAL ADVICE IT IS IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND THAT YOU SHOULD TRY TO GRADUALLY LOWER THE HEIGHT OF THE HEEL SO THAT THE MUSCLES CAN ADAPT.
El occasional use of high-heeled shoes It may cause some occasional discomfort, but it will hardly generate injury. The detrimental thing is to chronicle its use . Is much more harmful to wear a shoe with a 6 cm heel every day to wear 12 cm one day and the rest of the week to wear low shoes. what it generates shortening and overloading are continuous use .
El advice for a young girl who begins to wear heels punctually would be to alternate it with very flat shoes to prevent muscle shortening, and for a lady who has always used heels , to gradually lower the height . The leg muscles will tell you how far you can go down, because if you go down too far you will have muscle overload and soreness.
It is usual that after a night in heels the next day the metatarsal area hurts. The ideal is to decongest the feet ( putting them in cold water with salts can help a lot ) and applying a moisturizer at night massaging the area will also improve the discomfort. If it is occasional use, the discomfort will subside quickly.
3. CAN WE PREVENT THEM?
The best prevention is to make moderate use of the heels . In girls or ladies who, due to their work, have to use it for a long time, there are solutions like the one we developed at Podoactiva a few years ago. They are insoles specially designed to be used on dolce vita paily heels .
The insole minimizes the load on the metatarsal area preventing pathologies such as bunions and metatarsalgia . To avoid muscle shortening, we recommend accompanying its use with daily stretching.
4. DOES HEIGHT OF THE HEEL MATTER?
Both overload generated as the shortening produced in the posterior muscle pulley of the leg will be directly proportional to the height of the heel , but as I have already said, the important thing is not to make its use chronic.
IF YOU USE A HEEL OCCASIONALLY, IT IS NOT HARMFUL TO YOUR FOOT HEALTH. THE HARM IS TO TURN IT INTO REGULAR SHOES.
5. IS THIS A BETTER PLAN OR IS THE MEDIUM-TERM IDEAL?
It will depend on each person. The girl who has always worn flat shoes will tolerate wearing them well because her muscles are used to them. The ideal for most is a low heel of 2-3 cm . It is generally more comfortable for most women than a completely flat heel because this small heel allows the posterior muscles to be unloaded a little and the plantar fascia to be unloaded. Also read i
6. WHAT BASIC CARE SHOULD OUR FEET RECEIVE?
We advise visit the podiatrist at least once a year, and whenever we detect anything out of the ordinary. What Home Tips :
– Wear proper footwear .
-Do barefoot exercises a few minutes a day to strengthen the intrinsic muscles of the foot and decongest them
– Hydrate your feet daily. Ideally, do it at night using a specific foot cream, apply a massage and wait a while, so that the cream is absorbed before going to bed. If you hydrate yourself during the day, it can happen that the foot sweats and that the mixture of moisturizer and sweat generates a “maceration” effect on the skin.
– Do not use callicides since they are chemical products (acids), which can generate significant burns on healthy skin.
-If you play sports, we recommend that you do a biomechanical gait study with a sports podiatrist to be able to study whether the way we walk can be linked to a past or future injury.
7. IS IT RECOMMENDED TO ALWAYS WEAR ATHLETIC SHOES?
The ideal is to go alternate shoes . The last of the Tennis shoes It is generally beneficial for the foot, since it is generally wider than that of a dress shoe. The problem can pass perspiration because some materials used in the area above the shoe (upper) are sometimes not as breathable as they should be.
8. IS IT TRUE THAT THEY ENLARGE THE FEET? OR IS IT A MYTH?
It is true that in situations where the use of the heels, and therefore the metatarsal overload, is maintained for a long time, a slight widening of the metatarsal area caused by the increase in the distance between the metatarsal heads in response to this sustained pressure .
We can affirm that it is advisable to avoid a prolonged abuse of this shoe, not to use it in a “chronic” way; and, in general, it is preferable to use a heel that does not exceed 4 cm in height.Also, read it