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Stepping into the Holidays: Managing High Heel Risks

Medically reviewed by : Dr. William Adams, II, DPM, FACFAS | December 5, 2023

The holiday season is upon us, and with it comes the anticipation of festive gatherings and glamorous parties. For many women, high heels are a staple of their holiday attire, adding elegance and height to their look. However, before you slip into those stilettos, it’s essential to be aware of the potential health risks associated with high heels. In this December blog post, we explore high heel risks and offer suggestions for proper high heel wear during this holiday season.


High Heel Risks


High heels may make you feel like you’re on top of the world, but they can also take a toll on your body. High heels put stress on the front of the foot and over time can lead to several health issues:

Bunions: High heels can cause the toes to crowd together, leading to the development of painful bunions.

Hammertoes: Similarly, the pressure on the front of the foot can result in hammertoes, a condition where the toes bend unnaturally, causing discomfort and deformity.

Balance Problems: The altered posture induced by high heels can affect your balance and increase the risk of falls and injuries.

Orthopedic Problems: Continuously wearing high heels may contribute to orthopedic problems like plantar fasciitis, tendinitis, arthritis, and lower back pain.

Posture Issues: High heels can lead to poor posture, which can have a cascading effect on your musculoskeletal health.


Tips for Proper High Heel Wear


If you frequently wear high heels, these risks may tempt you to ditch your high heels altogether. Not so fast!  Abruptly switching to flats may not be the ideal solution as your body may have adapted to the changes induced by frequent heel wearing. Here are some tips to help you maintain your style while minimizing the risks:

Lower Heel Height: Opt for heels that are an inch or two lower than your usual choice. This reduces the stress on your feet and minimizes the risk of complications.

Ensure Proper Fit: Make sure your high heels fit comfortably. Avoid shoes that are too tight or narrow, as they can contribute to bunions and hammertoes.

Avoid Pointy Toes: Choose shoes with a rounded or square toe box rather than pointy-toed footwear to prevent crowding of the toes.

Take Breaks: Give your feet a break whenever possible. If you’re attending a long event, consider bringing a pair of comfortable flats to switch into when needed.

Strengthen Your Core: Maintaining a strong core, including your back and abdominal muscles, can help improve balance in high heels.


High heels may be a stylish addition to your holiday wardrobe, but they shouldn’t come at the expense of your health. As you prepare for the holiday season, keep these tips in mind to ensure that you can enjoy the festivities while protecting your feet and overall well-being. Your feet are your foundation, and taking care of them is the best gift you can give yourself this holiday.

If you’re experiencing foot or ankle discomfort reach out to us!  Our Foot and Ankle Center is here to provide you with expert guidance and effective solutions, allowing you to step forward with confidence and comfort. Your feet and ankles are your foundation – let us help you stand strong.