When It Comes to High Heels, Balance Is Better


Celebrated every year on March 8, International Women’s Day was created over a century ago to note the achievements of women all over the world and to push for gender equality. Well, in 2019, the chosen theme for International Women’s Day is kind of a podiatrist’s dream: “The better the balance, the better the world” or simply #Balanceforbetter.

However, when foot doctors like ours here at Affiliated Foot & Ankle Center hear “women” and “balance” together, gender equality isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. We’re more likely to think about high heels.

Heels put you off balance

When a woman wears a high heel, she’s transferring all of her weight forward onto the balls of her feet. Her entire body is out of alignment. Consequently, she’s got to compensate to keep her balance by tightening her calves, pushing her hips forward, and arching her back. It’s not unusual for lovers of high heels to develop pain in the knees, lower back, and even up into the neck and shoulders.

High heels can damage your feet

Besides knocking your natural form out of balance, wearing high heels for long periods of time contributes to toe deformities like hammertoes and bunions. Long-term wearing of heels can cause a large, red bump on the back of your heel which we call “pump bump” or Haglund’s deformity. Arthritis, bursitis, arch pain, neuromas, and tendonitis are other conditions we see as a result of high heels.

What’s a fashionista to do?

Moderation (call it balance, if you will) is key when it comes to wearing heels. In order to avoid long-term foot, ankle, calf, knee, and lower back problems, either don’t wear them at all or follow these guidelines:

  • keep heel heights to 2 inches or less

  • wear heels for a maximum of 3 hours at a time

  • don’t wear heels every day

  • choose shoes with a wide toe box

#Balanceforbetter - in life and in heels! If you’re ever caught off-balance and your feet are suffering, pick up the phone and call (732) 905-1110 for an appointment with board-certified podiatrists Samantha Boyd, DPM, Hal Ornstein, DPM, Dan Phan, DPM, or Joseph Saka, DPM. We welcome you to either of our two offices in Monmouth County - Howell or Jackson, New Jersey.