Scientists have revealed that wearing high heels – stilettos or pencil heels – have an adverse affect on health, especially bones, and may lead to major health hazards like degenerative arthritis — also called osteoarthritis.
Wearing high heels daily for long hours can lead to cumulative damage of bones and emerge as a leading cause for arthritis. Osteoarthritis, one of the most common chronic and long-lasting joint condition, is caused by joint damage where the cartilage breaks down, causing the bones within the joint to rub together. This leads to pain, stiffness and other issues.
High heels cause unequal weight distribution on the foot bones, exposing those areas of joints to bear weight which are normally not designed to do so.
This results in painful foot conditions like bunions and meta-tarsalgias — also known as fore-foot pain, said Uma Kumar, HOD, Rheumatology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS),. “Wearing heels generates pressure on knees and toes and they start aching if heels are worn for too long. The calf muscle is also stressed continuously,” she added.
Besides arthritis, wearing high heels also increases risk for nerve pull, back pain, waist pain and knee pain. Early symptoms of osteoarthritis include pain in joints, early morning stiffness in feet for more than 30 minutes and swelling in feet and back. “If one is keen on wearing a heel, it is advised to go for wedges or platform shoes.
The problem rises with height of the heel and the ideal height should be one and a half inches,” Uma Kumar suggested. She advised that heels should be avoided by teenage girls because it might affect their posture at an early age and develop chronic pains later.