Whether you wear heels every day or save them for a special event, there are some things you need to know about those oh-so-pretty but sometimes painful shoes.
We asked a chiropractor to explain why heels cause some of us a world of pain - and not just to our feet.
Heels change your centre of gravity
“Not only does wearing heels increase the amount of weight that the forefoot [the front part of the foot] bears but it pushes the body's centre of gravity forward,” says Dr Christian Allard DC, Director of ProBack Clinics.
“If the body's centre of gravity is moved forward, it also tends to create an anterior head carriage, meaning that the head is held forward.
"Since the muscles of the spine are not designed to hold the head in a forward position for extended periods of time, the muscles start to get ‘fatigue’ and a muscle that is fatigued hurts, mainly due to the lactic acid (metabolite created by muscle contraction) that starts to accumulate.
"Lactic acid has changes the histology of the muscle fibres, and the muscles become hard and start to develop scar tissue.”
Heels effect your pain receptors
“In terms of pain vs scar tissue; whenever pain receptors are stuck in scar tissue, they will send the pain signals to the brain at an amplified rate. It has been found that the pain signal will be sent to the brain 1000 easier," Dr Allard explains.
“Obviously, the last thing anybody wants is to increase pain signals to the brain.”
Heels change the position of your spine
Dr Allard explains how heels can have a detrimental effect on the position of the spine, “creating a low back extension, can move the thoracic spine [the middle back] backward and move the head forward”.
“The curves of the spine are responsible for about 80% of the shock absorption. Without proper curves, the spine and discs will have to take some of the load and wear faster,” he adds.
Heels can make it harder to breathe
“It has also been established that if the head is positioned only one inch further forward, it is about 20% harder to breath. Since the heart is a pump, as the rib cage presses on the heart, it is also harder for the heart to pump the blood.”