Richmond expert speaks about the affects of high heels

Women who wear high heel shoes on a regular basis could suffer from health problems. 

Despite being taught that pain is beauty, women are at risk for permanent damage to their body if they don’t wear heels in moderation.

Affecting the knees, ankles, muscles and back, walking in heels can assist in bone and nerve damage when ankles are bent forward for movement.

Richmond physiotherapist, Mark Wilson, said that wearing heels can develop shortened ankle and calf tendons, making walking painful even in flats.

‘‘Wearing high-heels raises the heel causing the body to be pushed forward and shift the weight onto the balls of the feet which are delicate toe bones,’’ Mr Wilson said.

‘‘It will affect the lower back and posture because of the way the high-heels put the foot in an unnatural position. Over time, wearing heels could restrict circulation in the lower limbs and extra stress on knees could lead to osteoarthritis.’’

Muscles which are designed to be flexible, such as the calf muscle, are often injuried from prolonged high heel wearing resulting in tight calf muscles. 

Podiatrist of City Feet Clinic, Kate McArthur-Jones, said that the although the high-fashion shoe options are often beautiful and on-trend, it’s important to stay educated on the hazards.

‘‘Women tend to find shoes that work with outfits, make their feet look smaller and often ignore the functional role of a shoe,” Mrs McArthur-Jones said.

The podiatrist said women don’t have to give up wearing them completley, they just need to ‘‘wear them in moderation.’’

How to minimise the harmful effects of heels?

- Wear shoes with low heels and a wide heel base or a slightly thicker heel. 

- Buy shoes which fit properly. 

- Wear heels on the days where there will be limited walking or standing.

- Alternate shoes, wear heels one day, wedges the next and flats to rest the feet.

- Take them off while driving or sitting at work.


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