That said there are significant impacts on the body if you regularly wear high heels. Beside the general increased risk of falling (I am always amazed by those women who effortlessly walk down the street in like 4 inch heels….so not me!), they can cause a wide variety of problems from back pain, knees problems and muscle strain, particularly related to the lower leg. Wearing high heels every day can shorten calf muscles by up to 13% causing lower leg stiffness and limiting the ankle’s range of motion.1
I still love my heels and unfortunately I do not work someplace where comfy, arch supportive shoes are an option. I do however try to wear some cute flats a couple days a week or swap out the heels for more comfortable shoes in between meetings. However I have noticed some issues more recently, which is likely related to my high heel addiction. I definitely have less flexibility in my ankle; for example if I am doing a squat or a lunge it is very difficult for me to get low without my heels rising off the ground. I have also been getting more foot cramps and regularly feeling a mild pulling in the back of my calf, evening with regularly stretching before and after working out.
In speaking to a trainer at my gym, she recommended a simple exercise to help loosen some of the tightness in my ankle and calf. She suggested doing a rolling massage on my feet using a tennis ball. She said that the fascia on the bottom the feet are connected to calf and that rolling your foot back and forth on a tennis ball a few times a week would help to loosen and stretch this fascia, thereby releasing some of the tension I was feeling in my calf. There are also some cheap foot massage balls on Amazon that work well too. I have been doing it regularly for a couple weeks now and I definitely do notice a difference. She also said regular pedicures have the same effect, but I opted for the girl on a budget approach which seems to be working just fine.
1 On muscle, tendon and high heels. Csapo, R., Maganaris, C.N., Seyennes, O.R., et al. Institute for Biomedical Research into Human Movement and Health, Manchester Metropolitan University, Faculty of Science and Engineering, John Dalton Building, Chester Street, Manchester, UK. The Journal of Experimental Biology. 2010 Aug 1; 213(Pt 15):2582-8. [↩]