Are High Heels Really That Bad for Your Feet?

Foot Pain, back Pain, Orthotics, Shoes, heels

When it comes to fashion, wearing high heels should be avoided. Even if you find a pair that seems comfortable, wearing this type of shoe can cause significant issues with your feet and posture.

When it comes to foot care, our team at Rocky Mountain Foot & Ankle Center offers expert podiatry services to the Colorado community at two convenient locations in Wheat Ridge and Granby. To help put your best foot forward, here are a few reasons to ditch your high heels for good.

How high heels affect your posture

High heels have been a popular piece of footwear for centuries. Unfortunately, their ability to create height and length throws off the mechanics of your entire body.

When you have good posture, your weight is equally balanced throughout the soles of your feet, and you have a neutral spine with your shoulders centered over your hips and knees. This structural alignment distributes your weight evenly across your supporting muscles and ligaments, creating stability in your body and avoiding unnecessary strain.

High heels change your body’s alignment because they mimic walking down a ramp. This shift in balance puts additional pressure on the balls of your feet from the extra downward force of gravity. And, as your lower body leans forward in your shoes, the rest of your body tries to compensate to help you stay upright. This causes your chest and lower back to push forward, which forces your spine out of alignment, decreasing the healthy curve in your lower back. All of these changes also put excess pressure on your knees, and the muscles and ligaments in your calves can tighten and cramp.

The higher your heels, the more they impact your posture, and the more pressure they put on your feet. For example, wearing a shoe with a 3¼ inch heel adds 76% of pressure to the front of your foot.

High heels and your feet

Approximately 72% of women wear high heels at some point during their lives, either at work, during special occasions, or for a night out on the town. Unfortunately, wearing high heels can cause more than sore feet. Over time, high heels can lead to foot problems and structural changes, including plantar fasciitis, bunions, and neuromas.

Plantar fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis develops when the ligaments and tendons supporting your arch start to tighten. As the stress on your arch grows, it can lead to microscopic tears in the plantar fascia tissue connecting your heel bone to your toes. Plantar fasciitis causes pain and inflammation on the bottom of your heel.


A bunion is a foot deformity that typically forms near the bottom of your big toe. These growths, which are bony or filled with fluid, are usually painful and can be aggravated by wearing tight shoes or high heels.


Hammertoe is a structural change to your toe that causes an abnormal bend in its middle joint. This condition can occur when gravity or tight shoes push your toes into a position where they can’t lie flat.


When you have a neuroma, you have an abnormal growth of nerve tissue that forms in a swollen and irritated nerve in your foot. With continued irritation, this nerve can become larger, which can trigger more irritation. A neuroma will most commonly develop on the ball of your foot.

Wearing high heels safely

While the safest choice for your feet is trading in your high heels for flats, we can make recommendations to help you wear them with fewer long-term risks.

First, save your high heels for special occasions. If you have to wear them for work, wait to put them on until you arrive, and take them off several times throughout the day to stretch and relax your feet. When you aren’t wearing high heels, choose flats with supportive insoles and heels that are no higher than 1½ inches in height.

If you have foot problems caused by wearing high heels, book an appointment online or over the phone with Rocky Mountain Foot & Ankle Center today.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Understanding How We Grade Your Sprained Ankle

Understanding How We Grade Your Sprained Ankle

Ankle sprains may be common, but that doesn’t mean they’re not serious injuries. Grading a sprain helps your doctor map out a treatment plan that’s focused on your recovery. Here’s what those grades mean.

Will Morton’s Neuroma Resolve on Its Own?

Morton’s neuroma, a podiatric condition that causes pain in the ball of your foot, can make walking difficult. If you stay off the foot, will it resolve on its own? Generally, no, but treatments can be very effective.
What Are My Treatment Options for Plantar Fasciitis?

What Are My Treatment Options for Plantar Fasciitis?

Getting out of bed in the morning can be hard enough, but when you add searing pain in your feet, your day isn’t off to a good start. Odds are the pain stems from plantar fasciitis, and there are treatment options.