The ripple effect of High Heels

There is no better feeling at the end of an evening out than taking off those gorgeous, ridiculously high heels and letting your feet finally relax.  Oh what a blessing to walk on a bare foot again, for we are all far too familiar with the concept beauty is pain. But why does this hurt so much, and how much damage are we actually causing?

Our feet are ingeniously built to sustain and absorb the shock of impact between the weight of our bodies and the floor.  Every step is an intricate balance between the many bones that make up our foot; a fine equilibrium of tarsals, metatarsals and phalanges.  Then, we throw heels into the mix.  All of the sudden all of our weight is put through the front of the foot.  To compensate for this, we shorten our calves, bring our knees and hips forward and hyperextend backwards to keep balance.   Sounds pretty awkward, right?  Ever notice that dull back ache at the end of a night out, too?

When all of our weight is pushed forward, our toes are the first to feel the pressure.  Conditions, or deformities, such as hammer toe, (toe bends downward), and bunions (big toe points sideways)  have been linked to prolonged high-heel shoe ware.  Repeated rubbing and pressure of tight heels can also contribute to the development of pesky ingrown toenails.  

Life-long use of heels has also been linked with a predisposition for developing achilles tendonitis; an overuse injury to the back of the heel.  This is because our calf becomes chronically shortened to compensate for the elevation of the shoe, placing pressure on the tendinous insertion to the calcaneus (heel bone).

And, of course, lets not forget the unlucky portion of the uncoordinated in our population, throwing out the centre of gravity is going to have some serious affects on balance, increasing the risk of traumatic falls, trips and ankle sprains.  (guilty)

So next time you see those over priced Louies or Laurents….think twice!

Its 2019; beauty is NOT pain!

Dr Lisa Timms



If you are struggling with foot, ankle or toe pain be sure to book in with one of our friendly Osteopaths at Blackburn Osteopathy for a thorough assessment and management plan!  Call 9878 3122 or book online at

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