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Reviewed 12/28/2022

High heels and healthy feet: Myth or fact?

When it comes to shoes, high heels are the No. 1 culprit for foot pain, reports the American Podiatric Medical Association. Are you better off chucking them all? Find out with this quiz.

Myth or fact: A higher heel can mean more damage.

Fact. High heels are designed to point the toe down (to give your leg that slender look). Any heel over 2 inches in height shifts your body weight and puts too much pressure on the ball of the foot and toes. That can strain your foot and cause long-term damage.

Myth or fact: High heels can cause bunions.

Fact. Ill-fitting closed-toe shoes-including high heels—can aggravate developing bunions and contribute to joint pain.

Myth or fact: Wearing high heels every day can actually build strength.

Myth. Wearing heels daily can cause your Achilles tendon to shrink. This can put you at greater risk of injury while doing other activities-even when the heels are off. Try to limit time wearing heels as much as possible.

Myth or fact: I have to wear high heels for work, so there's no way I can prevent foot problems.

Myth. In order to limit time in which you are required to wear heels, try wearing comfortable shoes to and from work. Or if you're sitting at your desk, take off your shoes and give your feet a break.

Myth or fact: There is no type of high heel that is OK to wear.

Myth. There are ways to make smarter heeled-shoe selections. Look for shoes that meet the following criteria:

  • Cushioning at the toe of the shoe.
  • Wide and generous toe box.
  • Heels that are 2 inches or less.
  • Arch support.

Your feet are meant to last you a lifetime. Most Americans log 75,000 miles on their feet by the time they're 50! Even if you're not wearing heels, the shoes you choose can make a difference in your foot health.

Find the right fit

Sources: American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society; American Podiatric Medical Association

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