The Real Harm in High Heels

The Real Harm in High Heels

Everyone has a general sense that high heels are dangerous, but there is a lot beneath the surface that we don’t consider. Entire muscle groups, bundles of tendons, and our very bones are put at risk.

A high heel drastically alters the wearer’s posture, displaces the foot and anklebones, strains the knee joint, and tightens the surrounding tendons. They can lead to osteoarthritis and hammertoe, due to many shoes’ narrow toe box. The way that high heels can affect certain parts of the body is below along with the most common injuries. High heels and their effect on joints

The calf

Calf muscles contract and adjust to the angle of the high heels. Muscles may shorten and tighten.

The knee

The altered posture of walking in high heels places excess force on the inside of the knee, a common site of osteoarthritis among women.

Achilles Tendon

When the front of the foot moves down in relation to the heel, the Achilles tendon tightens up. The higher a heel is, the shorter the tendon becomes creating heel pain.


High heels push the center of mass in the body forward taking the hip and spine out of alignment.

Pressure Ankle Injuries

High heels may make legs look longer, but as the high height goes up, so does the pressure on the forefoot.

Ankle Injuries

High heels impair balance; a wearer is at a greater risk of falling, which could lead to a sprained or broken ankle.

Pump Bump

The rigid backs or straps of high heel can irritate the heel, creating a bony enlargement also known as Haglund’s deformity.


MetatarsalgiaHigh heels force the body’s weight to be redistributed. Prolonged wear can lead to joint paid in the ball of the foot.

Morton’s Neuroma

Height heel and a narrow toebox can create a thickening tissue around a nerve between the third and fourth toes, which can lead to pain and numbness in the toes.


Tight-fitting shoes can cause a painful bony growth on the joint at the base of the big toe, which forces the big toe to angle in toward the other toes.


A narrow toebox pushes the smaller toes in a bent position at the middle joint. Eventually, the muscles in the second, third and fourth toes become unable to straighten, even when there is no confining shoe.

Dr. Donald Stran is a Podiatrist serving the Houston and Friendswood areas. To learn more about his procedures or to schedule an appointment please call any of our locations listed below.

Friendswood: (281) 992-0006
Missouri City: (281) 741-3017
Lake Jackson: (979) 297-8500

Dr. Donald Stran

Dr. Donald C. Stran has practiced in the community since 1987. He is Board Certified and is a Fellow of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgery. He is currently a teaching physician with the St. Joseph’s Medical Center podiatric residency program.

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