FootNotes: Keep your feet happy in heels!

“I don’t know whether to congratulate you for your successful completion of Graduation or for being successfully able to walk on stage without tripping in 4″ heels.” Laughter followed.. This was the a statement made at my post graduate convocation by a professor.

True it is! It’s a task to walk in those heels. Confirmed by the fact that most the ladies were barefoot as soon as the last ceremony was over. Giving the feet some space to breathe.

What do the heels exactly do? except for making you look taller, slimmer and good in anything you wear. Like you see in the picture below, Our posture is essentially straight when viewed form the side. Our ankles, knees and hips in straight line with our upper body.  As the height of the heel in your shoes increase, the body works to compensate for the change.


One of the ways is by redistributing pressures. Normally with flats or 1″ heels, the body weight is equally distributed in the forefoot and the rear foot.To maintain balance  in high heels and to keep the Center of gravity within the Base of Support, there will be increased pressure on the forefoot which is inside the toe box.

Now whats the problem with that?

Many a times you will find the Toe box tiny or in stylish shapes being pointed, triangular or extremely narrow. These toe boxes restrict the movement of the toes and cause enough compression to damage the nerves causing Morton’s Neuroma and deformities like Bunions. Yes, Victoria Beckham an avid high heal user has not so eye soothing Bunions. Here is what they look like.


When there is increased weight bearing on the forefoot, the knees bend and the pelvis tilts anteriorly to keep the body from falling over. Also causing increased wear and tear of the knees resulting in arthritis and knee related injuries. Another adjustment, the anterior tilting of pelvis(waist) causes impingement of the nerves in the back drum roll our famous back pain ensues.

With every Inch increase in the height of the heel, the pressure and the bio-mechanical adjustments keep on increasing, reaching 76% of increased pressure with a 3 inched heel.

In such an odd position, the muscles are working very hard to maintain balance and perform movements like walking, climbing stairs and sometimes even running. This exhausts them sooner resulting in increased incidence of Ankle sprains, fractures and Knee muscle strains. Prolonged use of heel also tightens up the calf muscle and its tendon- The Achilles. High heel users when try to walk bare feet will strain the tighten tendon causing chronic inflammation and pain.

Such is the incorrigible behavior that heels put our feet and bodies into.

Stop wearing those beautiful crafted heels that add oomph to our looks??  Not really. Look at these tips below, they will not keep you from wearing high heels but will decrease the damage to your feet while you do ..


Choose a wider based heel as opposed to pointed ones like in stilettos. It helps even out the weight distribution. A platform heel is better than a wedge, a wedge better than a stiletto and a pump. Buy the right size!  not too loose- will increase predisposition to ankle sprains and not too tight- will increase the chances of deformities and nerve compression injuries. People with wide foot opt for a wide toe box instead of the pointed and narrow ones.

And most Importantly..

Keep your feet happy while you look great!!… Signing off for now.. Happy feet!

Published by hemaliphysio

Ortho & Sports Physio, The Movement Analyst

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