The Scary Reason High Heels Should Be Worn In Moderation (And Hacks to Prevent Damage)

posted: 06/22/16
by: Ashley Vazquez
girl with injured foot

We all know high heels can be painful to wear for a night, but if you are a lover of platforms and stilettos, you could be doing some serious long-term damage to your body. So what can you do if you're not ready to wear flats every day? We talked with New York City podiatrist Dr. Hillary Brenner to find out what really happens to your body when you wear high heels and get some hacks for choosing a shoe that won't wreak havoc on your feet.

According to Dr. Brenner, wearing high heels is, well, dangerous. Even if you've perfected your high heeled strut and are confident you won't trip and fall, wearing stilettos for too long- or too often- can have serious long term consequences. Yep, sky-high heels can cause stress fractures, neuromas (a painful "pinched nerve"), ankle sprains, and shortening in the calf muscles.

When you wear high heels all day, your feet get stressed over time, your calf muscle shortens because it's in a fixed position, and your ankles swell up, becoming more prone to sprains. Not to mention, you have an increased risk of blisters, bunions, and hammertoes.

The potential damage gets worse the longer you wear the heels. They throw off your body's center of gravity, causing your back to extend backwards and your hips to extend forward. As a result, you develop a wobbly gait, which puts extra stress on your ankles, hips and knees. Over time, this extra stress can lead to arthritis, or even ligament or tendon injuries that become so painful that it's hard for you to even go for a run.


Me right now #highheelprobs

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High heels have been around for centuries an they're still a staple everywhere from red carpets to cubicles.

So what's a fashion-forward woman to do?

"I look at wearing shoes like dieting. We can eat what we want, but in moderation," Dr. Brenner says.

High heels should only be worn for three hours at a time. Flats may be worn for four hours, and boots with a chunky heel should be worn for a max of 6 hours. Sneakers are safe to wear all day. Any time that you spend sitting doesn't count.

But high heels aren't the only culprits. According to Dr. Brenner, flats can be just as dangerous because they provide no support or shock absorption, making them the equivalent to walking on cardboard.

Dr. Brenner has 4 rules for finding a perfect shoe:

1) The toe box should bend only slightly upward.
2) You shouldn't be able to bend the shoe in half like a burrito
3) Make sure they have good arch support
4) A wide, chunky heel is ideal

The key word is MODERATION #stilletos #shoefanatic #highheels #shoes #style #comfort #fashionableshoes #healthy

A photo posted by Dr. Hillary Brenner (@doctorbrennersrx) on