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Osahon Okodugha: Could Your High Heels Be the Cause of Your Pain? 

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Wearing heels sure does make people look graceful and elegant, but it could also be the cause of the pain they feel in their backs, hips, knees, and feet. Wearing heels frequently exposes women to developing problems such as ingrown toenails, and painful conditions like sciatica, back pain, pinched nerves, osteoarthritis, and muscle spasms or cramps. 

How can high heels make you feel pain?

All the joints, nerves, and tissues in your body are connected, and can impact one another. Your plantar fascia under the foot, connects to your calf and down to your under thigh and hamstring. The hamstrings connect to the hip joint area or pelvis, which is connected to the spine. 

Wearing heels alters your posture, alignment and balance, causing you to stand with your back arched, and mounting pressure on the ball of your feet. This causes you to bear weight on the wrong areas, and could lead to pain in your feet, back and knees.

Preventing Back Pain From Wearing Heels

For many women, not wearing heels is not an option. I’m not saying you should stop wearing heels, but you can take some steps to avoid developing pain that accompanies wearing heels.

  • Reduce the amount of time you wear them.
  • Wear lower inched heels, preferably 2 inches, the closer your feet are to the ground, the better.
  • Avoid pointy toe heels, which can put a strain on the nerves in your feet, and also cause corns and calluses.
  • Wear high heels with better support, such as wedges or platforms, for better balance.
  • Buy shoes with soft/ leather insoles for comfort.
  • Massage, stretch, flex your feet after taking off your heels.
  • Use arch inserts and orthotics to align the feet and distribute weight.
  • Alternate footwear, so you aren’t wearing the same type of shoes every day 

Routines to help you with pain relief 

  • Place a 1-inch book on the floor. You can stack up the book to 2-inches when you start to feel comfortable, but don’t exceed a 2- inches.
  • While standing upright, place the ball of your foot (base of the big toe ) on the book and your heels on the ground
  • Lean forward and pull your toes up, you can bend your knees a bit for convenience. 
  • Hold the position for 30 seconds and do the alternate routine for both feet.
  • You may not necessarily have to stop wearing heels to reduce pain, but make better choices when it comes to your preference of heels. What you wear can affect your health. Make sure to try out these tips and tricks if you wear heels regularly, you’ll be sure to get relief.

If you can’t get relief using the methods suggested above, See a physiotherapist to help evaluate the cause of your pain and to provide relief to your pain.




Featured Image: Pexels

Osahon Okodugha is a Healthcare Consultant, Physiotherapist, Clinical Director, and Founder of St. Joseph's Physiotherapy clinic. He obtained his first degree in Physiotherapy from the University of Ghana, Legon, and Masters Degree from the University of Lagos. He is passionate about healthcare in Nigeria and Africa, and is dedicated to improving the physical therapy and rehabilitation structures and outcomes in Nigeria. He often publishes health and disease prevention/management content on the St. Joseph's physiotherapy blog


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