High heels have been making quite a fashion statement for many decades now, but at what cost? Millions of women put them on each day for work or to go out without even giving it a second thought, because let’s face it, high heels make us feel sexy, attractive, and desirable. They can also add a nice touch to an outfit, accentuate long legs, and even give us added confidence. However, high heels have a dark side to them as well, unfortunately. I mean, who can really say that they have ever owned a comfortable pair of heels? They add a lot of added strain to your feet and legs, put pressure on your joints, and cause blisters. People go to great lengths to get noticed, but here’s why women should stop wearing high heels in their pursuit….

You may not feel like cutting them out of your life completely, but after you read what high heels can do to your health, you might consider wearing them a lot less, at least.

Here’s why women should stop wearing high heels:

high heels

1. High heels can cause arthritis in the knees

Most people only consider the bunions and callouses that can develop as a result of wearing heels, but they can also do considerable damage to your knees. A Harvard study found that wearing two-inch heels puts 23% more pressure on the inner knee than wearing flats does. Due to the added strain from the heels, your knee must automatically push forward when you walk or stand in order to keep you upright.

Did you also know that women have double the chance of developing osteoarthritis in their knees than men?

We can’t totally blame the heels, but they probably have a little something to do with it. As women, society pushes all sorts of products and messages on us in order to make us believe we need something outside ourselves to feel beautiful. Heels might look sexy, but when you develop knee problems because of them, you might want to stop wearing high heels once and for all.

2. High heels can damage your foot and leg muscles

When you wear high heels, the shoe naturally points your heel upward, which makes the Achilles tendon —a group of muscles at the base of the calf – shorter. Since this tendon and other calf muscles become shortened due to the heels, it puts added pressure on your muscles and can cause extreme pain and soreness. According to osteopathic physician Dr. Natalie A. Nevins, the shortening of these muscles can result in plantar fasciitis, or inflammation in a group of muscles located on the bottom of your feet called the plantar fascia.

3. High heels put added strain on your neck

You might think that high heels only put pressure on your lower body, but they actually affect your upper body as well. The strange posture you have to stand in while wearing heels can put added pressure on your back and neck, since you must arch your back and walk with your head in an unnatural forward position. If you do wear heels to work or school, try to change into flats at some point in the day to give your feet – and body – a much-needed rest.

4. High heels can result in sciatica

Not surprisingly, wearing high heels can put a lot of added strain on your lower back as well, since you must shift your weight and entire posture in order to accommodate them. According to Dr. Carrie Bowler, wearing high heels often can cause sciatica—chronic leg pain or numbness that makes any activity involving walking or sitting very painful and sometimes impossible. “As muscles in the groin and hip flexors tighten,” says Bowler, “lower back and gluteal muscles compensate and can go into chronic spasm, creating pressure on the sciatic nerve.”

5. High heels can result in bone damage

You might be thinking about twisting your ankle or falling down a flight of stairs due to wearing heels, but we’re actually talking about damage that can occur just by walking in them regularly. According to a report in the Washington Post, podiatrists explain that walking for an extended period of time in heels can cause stress fractures or cracks in the bones of the feet.

So, to recap, wearing heels can cause back and neck damage, lower back pain, bone fractures, and possibly arthritis. Like we said, heels certainly can add to an outfit and make you feel sexier and confident, but are permanent health problems and constant pain worth the price you pay? Absolutely not, this is why you may want to stop wearing high heels.

If you still haven’t been convinced to give up high heels, watch this video on the subject for more information: