Killer High Heels

The devil wears Prada… by the devil, I mean our feet. We are our own worst enemy when it comes to wearing high heels for prolonged periods. There is no denying that a pair of Valentino 4-inch heels would be a perfect statement to go with any little black dress. However, as far as Physiotherapists are concerned, the only statement these shoes will be making is a painful one.

The simple elevation of the heels causes a chain reaction from the toes to the neck that can lead to a range of problems. Common issues seen in high-heeled culprits include: 

  • shortened muscles;
  • lower back pain;
  • poor posture;
  • plantar fasciitis;
  • bunions;
  • pinched nerves;
  • hip pain; and
  • other joint issues.

Your back is designed with precise natural curvatures that optimise shock absorption to protect your back.

When we wear heels the lower back is forced to curve even more. This adaption decreases the overall stability in the trunk.

In addition to this, high-heels cause the front of your foot to become squished as they are forced into a narrow and often pointed toe box. As a result of this, the strength and stability of the small muscles and joints in the feet are compromised. Although seemingly small and unimportant, your feet contribute significantly to your overall body balance and movement patterns.

I don’t like to be the bearer of bad news but these are the cold hard facts.

So, if you are like me and will still sacrifice your feet for fashion anyway; follow these simple tips for reducing the negative effects of wearing our beloved heels:

  • Choose wisely… especially if they are for everyday wear. Opt for the style that has the wider toe area to avoid compression and avoid any above 2 inches.
  • If the shoe fits… then that’s another story. But if you are forcing your foot into them because they were on sale and you just couldn’t resist then you are likely to be compressing your feet and changing your movement patterns to minimize the discomfort in the feet. On the contrary, if they are too big and you find yourself gripping for dear life, you could be compromising your balance and subconsciously over-bracing in your lower back muscles and core stabilisers.
  • Who doesn’t like a good foot massage? Even if you have to do it yourself. After hours wearing heels give the ball of your foot and around your big toe a firm release. If you also get swelling, work in an upwards direction for removal of fluid.
  • If you snooze you lose! Jump on every opportunity to sit where you can. Intermittent breaks between standing with sitting will optimize circulation and ultimately break up the time that you are putting pressure on your feet.
  • Alternate between flats and heels to give your feet a break and give your calves a chance to stretch out.
  • High heel prehab. What!? Beat the (ingrown) toenail, bunion blues and prevent the ol’ ankle roll by getting high-heel ready. Try calf raises over a step (see below), followed by a calf stretch. Complete three sets of ten daily if you wear heels often.


Although you might look fabulous, the chances are you don’t feel it. Try these tricks for a better and more comfortable high-heeled experience.

If you wear high-heels daily and suffer from lower back, neck, hip or foot pain, contact our friendly staff on 47240768 to book in for a consultation.