If you're not careful, wearing high heels can create a world of foot problems. So what could possibly go wrong in shoes that look so good?
For one, inflammation around your metatarsals (the bones that bridge the gap from your arches to the balls of your feet). You also become vulnerable to plantar fasciitis, painful inflammation of the connective tissue along the bottoms of your feet.
But wearing high heels too often, for too long, affects more than your feet. The shift in position from flat feet to tiptoes forces your knees and hips forward. That, in turn, forces your lower back into a deeper arch than it's used to. The result is a cascade of imbalances that runs all the way down to your toes.
The good news is that you don't have to give up your high heels entirely. Australian podiatrist Phillip Vasyli, also the mind behind a line of shock-absorbing shoe inserts that will fit into high heels for extra support, says that rationing your heel-wearing moments wisely can help preserve your feet: "The human body was not intended to walk in high heels, so the most logical thing is to either not wear them or, better, to save them for special occasions or the weekend."
When you do go for the heels, Vasyli recommends sticking to 1.5 to 2 inches of height, preferably with wedge soles that contact and support the arch of your foot. You can go as high as 3 inches but, Vasyli warns, walking in heels higher than 3 inches will affect your gait.
Vasyli also recommends taking these proactive measures to protect your feet:
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