Study Proves That High Heels Are a (Literal) Pain in Your Neck

posted: 05/28/15
by: Mara Betsch
high heels

Trust me, I love heels as much as the next girl (translation: I love the way they make my legs look), but it takes a pretty swanky event for me to wear them for more than 2 hours. But to all you stiletto-loving ladies out there, be warned that your sky-high shoes may have a downside.

According to a recent study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, injuries from high heels doubled between 2002 and 2012. Unsurprisingly, most of these injuries occurred in younger ladies, with the greatest rates seen in the 20-29 age group and the 30-29 age group. And researchers speculate that some of these wounds might be caused by ladies wearing heels in situations where flats would be more appropriate -- like rocking spiked heels to navigate the cobblestoned streets of Europe.

"Although high-heeled shoes might be stylish, from a health standpoint, it would be worthwhile for those interested in wearing high-heeled shoes to understand the risks and the potential harm that precarious activities in high-heeled shoes can cause," lead investigator Gerald McGwin, Ph.D., vice chair and professor of the Department of Epidemiology in the UAB School of Public Health said in a press release.

Most of the injuries -- more than 80 percent -- were to the ankle or foot, and less than 20 percent involved the knee, trunk, shoulder, or head and neck. The majority of these were simple strains or sprains, but -- eek! -- fractures made up 19 percent of all injuries. So for the 62 percent of women who wear 2-inch heels or higher on the reg, you might want to consider packing a pair of flats for commutes or events where you'll be on your feet all day.

These injuries mentioned above are unfortunately just part of the problem. Even if your impeccable balance prevents you from stumbling on your stilettos, wearing heels can reduce ankle muscle movement, step length, total range of movement and balance control. The research proves that wearing high heels over the years affects how you walk and can stress the muscles and tendons of the lower legs, which can lead to things like tendonitis later in life.

So save your heels for special events and stock up on comfy -- and cute -- flats.