High heels have long been a staple in women’s fashion, often associated with elegance and sophistication. However, numerous studies and reports have highlighted the potential health risks associated with wearing high heels, particularly those exceeding certain heights.
The average heel height is around 3 inches or 7.5 cm, which falls into the mid-height range. However, discomfort and potential health issues can arise when the heel height exceeds this average, especially if the shoes have a pointed toe.
Research has shown that wearing high heels daily can lead to foot deformities such as hammertoes or claw toes, bunions, corns, calluses, and ingrown toenails. Furthermore, the altered position and gait due to high heels can cause abnormal stress on the joints, leading to arthritis and pain.
A study conducted in 2022 found that wearing high heels with a height of 7 cm did not increase postural sway, suggesting that this might be a safe height for occasional wear. However, it’s important to note that these findings do not negate the potential long-term effects of wearing high heels regularly.
In fact, a significant percentage of women report experiencing foot pain due to wearing uncomfortable shoes. Specifically, 59% report toe pain, while 54% report pain in the ball of the foot.
A systematic review published in 2020 suggested that an optimal range of heel height for maintaining postural balance and stability is between 3 and 5 cm. The review also recommended using a total contact insert (TCI) to decrease plantar pressure and the impact on the foot, resulting in higher perceived comfort.
However, it’s crucial to remember that these recommendations are based on short-term research, and the long-term effects of wearing high heels, even within the suggested height range, remain uncertain.
Moreover, a study conducted at Stanford University found that high heels could potentially increase the risk of osteoarthritis by causing the knees to bend awkwardly, putting extra strain on the joints.
While high heels can certainly add a touch of glamour to any outfit, it’s essential to consider their potential health implications. Based on various studies and reports, it seems that a heel height of 3 to 5 cm may be the safest bet for those who wish to wear high heels occasionally. However, for regular wear, lower heels or flat shoes are likely to be a healthier choice.