Can high heels affect your body?

I’m sure the majority of college girls – and most girls, in all honesty – can agree with me when I say high heels are absolutely horrible to wear. They may look pretty, but they can definitely hurt your feet. However, recently I began noticing that not just my feet were hurting when I would wear heels – I wear a decent size, around 5 in, and now I start to feel my knees hurting with each step and calves feel tighter than usual. So now Im wondering – can high heels affect the rest of your body (other than just your feet)?

Null Hypothesis: high heels do not affect the rest of your body

Alternative Hypothesis: high heels do affect the rest of your body

First off: what about high heels causes that foot pain that we all know and love?

The majority has to do with how much pressure you’re putting on your feet. According to The Spine Institute, wearing high heels actually throws off the usually even amount of pressure on your feet, and focuses on the balls of your feet and toes instead – similar to the pressure you feel in your feet when walking uphill. The taller the heel, the higher the elevation, and the more the pressure.

Wearing a narrow pointed high heel or an ill fitting high heel (whether it’s too big or small) will also cause foot pain as this is why causes ingrown toenails and blisters.

And now how they can affect the rest of the body

Knee pain:

Similar to how it works with feet, The Spine Institute stated that wearing heels also puts a lot of pressure on your knees because its similar to walking in an uphill motion. It also puts stress on the inside of your knees which in time (if you wear heels daily) can possibly lead to joint and muscle damage.

Calves and Ankle pain:

According to Women’s Health, wearing heels (especially ones that contain straps) can cut off the circulation near your ankle since it forces the ankle to move forward – with enough time, this could cause veins to occur on the lower part of your legs. Walking in high heels (as I have noticed) causes your calves to get really tight as you’re trying to maintain balance – this is why it takes your feet some adjusting to walk normally after wearing heels for a prolonged period of time (the calf muscle needs to loosen itself). If you wear heels constantly for a long period of time, this can result in your calves being consistently tight, causing pain while walking no matter what shoes are being worn.

Back Pain:

When standing with no heels, your back is usually just straight, so there are no points of pressure or strain. According to The Spine Institute, wearing heels causes your back to arch forward, to compensate for the balance being lost. Walking for hours in heels can put a lot of stress on your lower back, resulting in soreness and pain.

Long term effects:

Chronic high heel wearing can not only change the anatomy of your body (as shown with the calf muscles) but can also lead to a chronic nerve pain. This nerve condition causes tingling, sharp pains, and muscle cramps that radiate from the lower back all the way down to the legs.


The Spine Institute shows a variety of ways to help alleviate pain from wearing high heels. Some ways include stretching, buying insoles to place in your shoe (Dr. Scholls, for example), avoiding certain types of high heels and limiting the amount of time you wear heels per day.


We have enough evidence to prove that wearing high heels does in fact affect more than just feet, so therefore we can reject the null hypothesis. 

I was unaware how much damage a pair of shoes could cause, so a word of the wise would be to wear shoes like this in moderation to avoid injury.

Web Sources: herehere

Photo Source: here


6 thoughts on “Can high heels affect your body?

  1. Nicole Paniccia

    This article is really pertinent to me has I wear heels every night I go out. As someone who is 5’1, it makes me feel a little bit better about myself if I add some height. By the end of almost every night my feet are killing me and I am in so much pain I can’t even walk. I never really thought about the physical damage heels were doing to my body. I didn’t know that wearing heels can lead to back pain! That is crazy. As someone who also has scoliosis i should really think twice about wearing a pair of heels.

  2. lkr5215

    Wow this is such a great and relevant topic! especially to someone like me that wears heels all the time. I did not know it could cause this much damage to the body. I like how clear and concise this blog was along with incorporating ideas we learned in class in order to gather information and draw a conclusion. This makes me think again about how often I should be wearing heels.

  3. Trae Vann Morgan-White

    I can never understand why girls choose to wear high heels, especially if it results in body pains like that. It’s crazy. I get that high heels are good for appearance, but girls should be wary of the physical effects of wearing them. Girls should wear shoes with lower heels so there would be less pain. Interesting article, Meg. 🙂

  4. Michael Kevin Curran

    As a guy, I always see girls struggling to keep their heels on after they’ve been wearing them for a few hours. I always heard heels were uncomfortable, but it’s never something I experienced myself. I know I was completely unaware of the immense damage heels can do to the body, and I’m sure many women reading this blog post are finding out some of it for the first time too. Very educational post, with information people are definitely going to use.

  5. William Dever

    It seems crazy to me as a guy how far some girls will go in order to achieve a certain look. High heels being the most notable and most often complained about when I talk to girls at more classy events. The fact that heels can completely change your anatomy is crazy. I did not realize how big of topic this is until I did a google search and found an article saying high heels should be banned in the workplace because of the long term injuries and effects that you have also mentioned.

  6. jnb5450

    Wow, this article really caught my eye. I honestly never really think about how my high heels can hurt my body or negatively affect me in any way (besides… if I fall in them of course). Being in college in a sorority I feel like almost all girls wear heels when they go out, at least I do. Reading this almost makes me want to not anymore… I wish there were a few more live links that I could see other facts or opinions on the topic but Women’s Health about long-term effects and chronic pain is pretty scary. I know pointe dance shoes can really mess up your knees in the long run. Here are some facts about that: Thanks for sharing:)

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