Does Wearing High Heels Affect Your Skeletal System?

You are probably here cause you have felt the strain high heels can place on the structure of your body. Or you are probably here because you have come across the many reports associating such footwear with body complications.

So, we take a look at a few helpful answers for an important question, “does wearing high heels affect your skeletal system?”

Yes, wearing high heels affect the skeletal system. So, you have to be well informed be you consider investing in this type of shoe for your needs.

Does Wearing High Heels Affect Your Skeletal System? -
Source: USA Today.

Does Wearing High Heels Affect Your Skeletal System – Things You Should Know!

Various things can occur when you wear high heels. If you own a pair of stilettos, especially the ladies, you will know that you can complement your outfit and make you look stunning. While movements such as the athleisure movement nowadays recommend comfort over style – ladies still LOVE wearing heels.

Whether it’s for special occasions or professional meetings, high heels have several side effects on the body. The feet make up for a large portion of the base of the body, and high heels compromise their overall stability. The heels move your weight forward such that your hips and knees must adjust to compensate for the unusual posture of the feet.

Think of your feet as the foundation of a house. If you build two houses close together, one with a stable and the other unstable, you will notice that they appear similar. However, over time, the house with an unstable foundation will start experiencing issues such as cracks. The building might eventually crumble down, and this is the same concept with high heels.

Follow on as we look more into its specific side effects.

Effects of High Heels on the Skeletal System

Effects of High Heels on the Skeletal System

The average lady experiences foot pain a short while after wearing high heels. However, high heels impact the body other than just making one want to sit down. The guide below sheds light into the different parts of the skeletal system.

1. The Feet

Usually, the feet serve as spring loaded and weight distributing mechanisms. They help shock the body from large amounts of shock that you experience all throughout the day. Plus, they also help accommodate the weight of your body.

However, jamming these biological engineering marvels into high heels, and you might soon experience foot problems. Its because high heels shift the weight of your foot onto the balls of your feet, and toe bone sections.

The higher the heel, the more the impact. A recent report showed that four-inch stilettos can increase pressure on the front foot section by over 30%.

The heel to toe transition also becomes poor, thus compromising your natural gait, and giving you the staccato walk. Walking like this all throughout could eventually lead to various issues. These can include blisters, ingrown toenails, never damage and various others

2. Back

The typical C-curve shape of your back will help provide natural shock absorption benefits. So, it helps in decreasing the weight bearing stress on body parts such as the pelvis and vertebrae. However, high heels can compromise the functions of the lumbar spine area of your low back. It causes this section to flatten, thus causing your spine to sit in a hyper cured posture.

To compensate for this issue, you may have to lead forward to help remove some pressure from the body. Plus, poor back alignment can overwork the back muscles, and make you prone to issues such as chronic back pain. If you still have to go for this footwear, ensure you choose the best high heels for back pain.

3. Ankles and Calves

High heels will cause your ankles to bend forward, and this posture could eventually compromise circulation in the body. So, if you are regular high heel user, be cautions of issues such as spider veins. The pressure on your ankles and calves is one of the reasons why high heels hurt so bad.

These footwear types can also stiffen the Achilles tendons, which are responsible for anchoring the muscles to heels. So, wearing tall pumps throughout the day might make it difficult to move around when you first remove the heels. A good suggestion to offset the stiffness would be to flex your feet regularly, and ensure you do it shoe-less.

Are high heels bad for your feet?
Source: The Guardian.

4. Toes

By wearing high heels on a regular basis, you will be forcing your shoe in a relatively small toe box space. The side effects of this issue increase significantly when the toe box is significantly smaller than your foot.

So, the immense pressure from such an unusual position might eventually compromise the comfort of your shoe. Even if your high heels have wide toe boxes, be careful of issues such as calluses and corns.

5. Posture

A high heel places the foot in an uncomfortable position, which will eventually cause immense pressure on the forefoot. Doing this will eventually incline the rest of the body to shift to provide improved balance.

As the body moves forward to provide improved balance, the upper body section should be able to counter the body weight. It will eventually throw off the alignment off the body, thus causing your skeletal to become stiff, and in unnatural manner.

The negative side effect increases when you go for higher heels. It’s even a common issue among experienced users, especially those that want extra high stilettos. These footwear types will compromise the body’s center of gravity, especially close to the hop sections.

6. Other Body Parts

Wearing high heels also has adverse side effects on other body parts such as the:

A. Achilles Tendon

Wearing high heels daily will lead to various complications in your Achilles tendon. For instance, the heels will decrease the muscle size that connects your ankle to the muscles in your foot. Eventually, you will find it difficult to extend your feet, even when you want to walk around with footwear.

In our guide on whether running shoes should be tight, we also identify the effects of tight shoes on your Achilles tendon. Excessive activity from running causes a strain on your feet, which eventually leads to muscle problems. Recent reports have also associated high heels and hip pain, which you should consider.

B. Knees

Wearing heels can cause a compromise to your body weight by shifting it to the ball of your foot. Thus, this will cause your knees to shift forward to compensate for the unusual body weight. Such a misalignment will eventually lead to bone health issues such as arthritis, which might require surgery.

C. Hips

Similar to your knees, the hips tend to move forward to help accommodate any additional weight on the ball of your feet. The hips are essential in various activities, including walking and standing. However, high heels can cause pain on these body sections and other body parts such as the groin.

Benefits of Wearing High Heels

While various reports have associated wearing high heels with various skeletal issues, you also have to consider the benefits. For instance, many women today often ask, “does wearing high heels increase hip size?” The answer is that yes, high heels can increase your hip size, but at a cost! That said, below are some of these benefits:

  • Its part of modern fashionwear – ladies love wearing high heels as its part of fashionwear. Its also common in various locations including professional, entertainment zones and various others.
  • Can help improve your height – women can also use it to look taller, which can be a great way to complement any outfit.
  • Suitable for entertainment purposes – high heels are common among women who want to stand out in the entertainment scene.

PRO TIP – Take look at this Youtube Video that provides more information on the benefits of high heels.

Disadvantages of Wearing High Heels

Similar to wearing cowboy boots that fit tight, there are various disadvantages of wearing high heels including:

  • You might suffer from the high heel syndrome, which many people also refer to as plantar fasciitis. Due to the immense pressure from wearing high heels for long durations and adverse physical effects, the issue occurs.
  • You are also likely to experience various physical pains in your neck, back, and feet. The pain comes from the unusual stance the high heels put on your body, especially if you have to move around a lot.


  • How Do High Heels Affect the Skeletal System?

High heels affected the skeletal system in various ways. It can lead to alignment issues that can eventually compromise your posture and lead to back problems. Plus, some long-term effects include changes that can occur to your anatomy.

  • What Happens if You Wear High Heels Too Much?

Wearing high heels too much can cause damage to your skeletal system and lead to blood circulation issues such as varicose veins. Furthermore, it can lead to complications such as ruptured veins and swollen legs in ladies. The reason for this is because it high heels compromise your body’s centre of gravity.

  • What Height of Heels is Best?

The best height of heels would be the type that averages at 3 inches or 7 cm. Such a height falls in the mid height range category, which can sometimes average at 2 inches. Its one of the most classic heel designs for you to consider.

  • Does Wearing Heels Get Easier?

No, wearing heels never gets easier. Its not the same as breaking in a pair of shoes or boots. The main reason for this is because the heels incline your skeletal to sit in unusual position. This eventually causes discomfort, and compromises your balance and natural gait.

  • Is it Okay to Wear Heels Everyday?

Not, its not okay to wear heels everyday. Research has shown that people who wear heels can experience permanent damage due to extensive use. So, its important to control the regularity of using high heels.


Putting on the correct footwear is vital for your overall health and well-being. However, this does not mean that you should stop wearing high heels. So, if someone asks, “does wearing high heels affect your skeletal system?” Tell, them yes, and this doesn’t mean you should stop wearing the completely. Instead, you should consider being well informed about such footwear so you avoid causing any permanent damage to your body.

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