High Heels: What Does it do to Your Body and What are the Consequences?

For many women (and men) high heels, and pumps are the sign of femininity. This way your legs suddenly look a lot longer and slimmer and your whole posture changes. But the saying: who wants to be beautiful must suffer pain certainly applies here. Because what exactly happens to your body and what are the consequences?

One of the most important questions is: How often do you wear heels and how high are they? Because once a pair of high heels on at a party can do much less harm than if you are in the store 5 days a week with a pair of high pumps. The ideal heel height is between 1 and 3 cm. If you go much higher, especially above 4 cm, this does something to your body.


When wearing high heels, the position of your body changes. Because your heel is much higher, you increase the pressure on the forefoot. This moves your body’s center of gravity forward. To prevent you from falling forward, your body will compensate itself.

It does this by turning the hips and knees inward. In addition, the pelvis tilts forward. Your abdominal wall comes forward and the concave (lumbar lordosis) in the lower back is strengthened and the buttocks go back a bit.

These postural changes cause, among other things, increased pressure at the kneecap, a change in the knee position, and more tension on the muscles in the (lower) back, all of which may result in pain complaints.


The high heels put all the pressure on the forefoot/toes. This can cause pain and calluses. Especially the bones under the forefoot give a lot of pressure pain. The fat pad under the forefoot can slide forward due to prolonged use, intensifying the pressure pain even more.

Nerve compressions are also a common problem. Because the nerve is continuously under pressure and tension, it can thicken and become pinched between the metatarsal bones, resulting in many pain complaints.

Due to the changed pressure on the metatarsal bones, tears or even fractures can occur in one or more metatarsal bones (mars fracture).

Counter problems

High heels make you slide forward in the shoe. Because you are often more unstable on the shoe, your toes can bend to get more balance. They will claw which can cause pressure spots, calluses, and corns.

Wearing high heels can cause the big toe to grow crooked faster. Due to the increased pressure, but also the fact that most pumps are somewhat narrower, the toe is pressed completely obliquely, as it were. This can lead to lumps and inflammation.

Nail complaints

The pressure on the nails, especially those of the big toe, is increased by wearing high heels. The more pointed the nose, the higher the pressure. Consequences can be ingrown toenails or corns under the nail.

Short muscles

Prolonged use of high heels can shorten the calf muscles. As a result, you often see that people who always walk in high heels often have difficulty with flat(er) shoes or when exercising. This can cause many complaints in the Achilles tendon, calves, and back.


As podiatrists, we can do a foot exam and make a diagnosis. Treatment will largely consist of shoe advice and can be supplemented with silicone toe pieces, custom-made soles, nail braces, or exercises. This all depends on the complaint.

And now…….?!

Can I not wear heels at all? Of course, we will and cannot prohibit anyone from wearing heels. But be aware of the consequences and know what attracts you and when. You should also select the shoes with the best qualities like dolce vita paily heels. If you go out for dinner and sit all evening, this will not be a problem. But if you have to stand and walk a lot, choose a lower model or other types of shoes.