How heels can deform your feet

New research suggests that constantly wearing heels can be detrimental to your health

Research published in the journal BMC Public Health has shown that wearing high heels may result in foot deformity‚ osteoarthritis and other injury, the Sunday Times reports.

Researchers found that there is a link between high heels and foot deformity‚ musculoskeletal pain and first-party injury. In addition, wearing heels is reported to increase the risk of osteoarthritis.

Specialist orthopaedic surgeon Dr Rhinesh Chetty says constantly wearing heels can eventually cause micro-damage to the front‚ middle and back of the foot.

“Limit time in high heels and if you develop active pain and swelling, you may need a vacation from your heels.”

Chetty further added that if you develop bunions or hammer toes (a deformity which results in the toe to bend inwards), you are wearing heels too much. This can lead to metatarsalgia‚ a condition in which the ball of the foot becomes painful and inflamed, which can eventually result in ligament ruptures or permanent foot damage and deformity, reports the Sunday Times.

Chetty said: “Surgery should be last resort, as it can cause worsening pain, despite making for a better-looking foot. Foot surgery is also notorious for delayed healing.”

READ MORE: How to step out in heels and socks

Shoe designer Devan Odayan says that high heels with narrower fronts are the most dangerous type of shoes. “Due to the unnatural angle‚ abnormal pressure is also borne by the foot’s heel‚ causing a detrimental knock-on effect on knee joints.

“It has also been shown that high heels cause unnatural bending of the knees and if worn for long periods‚ can shorten the posterior leg muscles. The Achilles tendon may also be damaged and back pain is a common symptom.”

Siyamthanda Ngozi* says she would never ditch her heels. “Heels make a woman feel poised and confident and sometimes you need to step out the house feeling like a million bucks,” she says. Ngozi adds that she would simply wear a more comfortable, versatile pair.

Landela Khoza* says if she needed to stop wearing her heels, she would. “I don’t wear them often enough to feel particularly feel strongly about them, so if I had to stop, I could quite easily,” she says.

*Not their real names