Sure, wearing high heels can make you feel extra confident and insta-sexy. But if wearing those sky-high stilettos makes you want to sit down every five minutes, better listen to your body. The pain you’re feeling may be connected to a more serious problem. Read on to see how your fave heels are affecting your health.
(PS: Click here for ideas on how to rock flats on days when you want to take a break from your pumps.)

Lower Back Pain
When you wear high heels, not only is there a visible change in your height but also a change in your posture. This is because your lower back is pushed forward, taking the hips and spine out of alignment.

Varicose Veins
Chances are, wearing heels too often may be the culprit behind those visible veins on the back of your legs. The heart pumps blood that circulates around your body through your veins, and if you wear heels all the time, you increase pressure to the lower extremity of your legs causing problems with circulation.

Sore Calves
When barefoot, your body weight is evenly distributed between the front and back portions of the knee. Wearing a 2-inch pair of heels can increase the load on the knees by 23 percent.This can eventually lead to arthritis in the knees when you don’t give yourself a break from wearing heels. How long should you wear high heels? Four hours for shoes with low heels (1.5 or shorter), three hours for medium heels (1.5 to 3 inches) and for those really, really high heels (3.5 inches and above) not longer than an hour.

Constricting Blood Vessels
Most high heels are shaped in such a way that makes your feel look thin, long, and elegant. While that sounds great, the reality is, that can also mean your feet get crammed in a tight space. (Translation: Your size 8 feet may be squeezed into a a size 7 ½ shoe.) Aside from the fit, height matters too. Dr. Robert Laquerre from Alta Vista Chiropractic in Ottawa, Canada says heels over two inches high can increase muscular tension throughout the lower extremity, constricting blood vessels, and limiting blood supply to muscles and to the brain. The result? Reduced flow of oxygen in the body that can cause exhaustion. Yikes!

Crooked Feet and Hammer toes
Think you’re willing to sacrifice the appearance of your toes and feet in the name fashion? Well, better think again. Dr. Michael Nirenberg, podiatrist with Friendly Foot Care in Crown Point says, “People who wear heels long term will have their toes contract into ‘hammer toes”. He also adds that when you try to balance the heel and the ball of the foot, you’re more likely to get deformities, bunions and pinched nerves, stress fractures, and pain in the ball of your foot. Ouch!

Overworked Hips
Walking in heels with your hips swaying may look sexy, but in the long run, it can actually be bad for the hips. The reason? This works the outer hip muscles and tendons hard. When you walk in heels, you try to regain and maintain your balance and that happens when you adjust your hips, back, and shoulders.

Flashbox photo: Confessions of a Shopaholic, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures (2009) ; Giphy

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