Podiatrists advise against the requirement of high-heeled shoes, and more so during full working days. We will tell you the reasons and the main consequences for health. We will also discuss what footwear to wear to prevent foot injuries.
Wearing high-heeled shoes stylizes the body, but walking with these shoes regularly harms our feet and, therefore, our health. Hence, experts advise against their use, especially their demand in work environments and during long working hours. But what type of heel do podiatrists refer to? Next, we tell you which one and why, and we point out which would be the most suitable work shoe. We also give you some tips to avoid suffering its consequences if, in any case, you want or should wear heels.
High-heeled Shoes: Health Consequences
Barefoot, 75% of our weight is supported by the heel, and the forefoot carries the rest. The heel’s function (supported by wide and short bones) is supportive, while that of the forefoot is dynamic, so its bones are longer and narrower. But with shoes, things change, and, as the height of the shoe increases, these percentages —and tasks— vary, with consequences for our feet.
High-heeled shoes have a height that ranges between 2.5 and 12 centimeters. Low heels do not exceed four centimeters. For the General Council of Official Colleges of Podiatrists (CGCOP), in a heel between one and four centimeters, the position of the metatarsals (the long bones of the foot that connect the ankle with the fingers) is in optimal conditions: an angle concerning the floor that allows supporting the most anatomically prepared part to step on, with the help of the fibrocartilaginous elements and protected by the plantar fat (“the best shock absorber ever designed”). At this point, the heel and forefoot share the load equally.
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Here you will get information about What footwear to wear to prevent foot injuries. The medium heels reach seven or eight centimeters. And surpassing them is the high-heeled shoe, also known as the stiletto. Both the medium or high-height models can also have a thinner and sharper heel; They are known as stiletto heels. Both of them are not recommended. Specialists warn that heels of more than five centimeters are harmful to health.
The heel alters gait and posture. “The blocking of the ankle joint in plantar flexion, which is increased proportionally with the height of the heel, makes the upper joints, both the knee and the hip, have to make more movement and, consequently, a hip sway that it is anti-physiological,” they point out from the CGCOP. Therefore, it favors back and neck pain.
The height inverts the ratio of loads on foot. “We started to load more than 75% of our weight on the most sensitive part of our metatarsals, the cartilage, and we put barbaric pressure on the plantar plates of our joints,” the experts detail. This can generate inflammation, fissures, and, not infrequently, breakage of the same. Osteoarthritis in the ankles, knees, and hips are some consequences and metatarsalgia (pain and inflammation in the ball of the foot).
Other problems: ankle sprains, shortening of the posterior leg muscles (closely related to plantar fasciitis )
But in addition, associated with the heel, podiatrists warn that stilettos and their narrow tips generate a compression of the fingers with the following short or long-term skin injuries: wounds, calluses, calluses, ingrown nails, bunions, claw toes, rooster eyes, subungual exostoses (benign bone tumor) …
Precautions if you Wear High-heeled Shoes
The moderate use of high-heeled shoes can increase self-esteem and, at the same time, reduce the detrimental effects already mentioned. How? The General Council of Colleges of Podiatrists gives these recommendations:
Use platform shoes. In this way, you will decrease the pressure on the forefoot without losing height.
Inside the footwear, it uses metatarsal discharge insoles or cushioning materials. “They provide greater comfort, although we must consider that it is a temporary ‘solution,'” they comment.
Instructions to Pick the Most Appropriate Work Shoes
If it is not advisable to wear high-heeled shoes at work, what is the most appropriate? In principle, it must be resistant footwear, especially in the case of employees in the construction and industry sectors. And it is that to the usual problems that these workers can have in joints of feet, knees, hips, and spine for working standing up; there are also injuries that their feet can suffer due to falling objects, impacts, and blows.
These are the aspects that you should take into account when choosing the most suitable type of footwear for the working day:
The time that you will be working with the footwear.
The position and the place where the activity takes place.
The physical characteristics of the worker, to adapt the footwear to the needs of his body.
In addition, podiatrists advise reviewing the components of its manufacture, design, and shape so that the employees’ feet do not suffer from the incorrect use of poorly selected footwear. And of course, they recommend choosing the correct size, trying it on towards the end of the day, when the foot is most dilated.
Ideal Characteristics of Footwear to Wear to Prevent Foot Injuries
If you do not know which is the most appropriate footwear for your foot, depending on the professional activity you carry out; you can consult a podiatrist for advice. But, in any case, the CGCOP points out the following characteristics as essential for work shoes:
Resistant to cold and heat.
With protection on the toe and heel area.
With closure that provides good support.
As ergonomic as conceivable to work with the development of the foot inside.
Made of waterproof and breathable materials.
A non-slip and antistatic sole to prevent electrical accidents and a midsole with internal reinforcement to prevent perforations.