Despite the aesthetic and cultural contribution that high heels make, they serve no real purpose as far as foot function is concerned. They cause an abnormal distribution of body weight across the foot, forcing the front part of the foot to bear an unusually heavy load. Furthermore the artificial inclination of the foot causes the toes to be pushed forward in the toe box area, which can lead to a variety of problems. Wearing high heels are akin to walking down a hill, in that the body tilts forward, forcing the lumbar spine (lower back) to extend backwards in order for the body to maintain balance. This can result in back pain. The Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists said the UK could be facing an “arthritis crisis” due to increasing levels of obesity and poor footwear.

The most common form of the condition, osteoarthritis, causes pain and stiffness in the joints and affects at least eight million people in the UK.

High heels have also been recently linked (in a study by Stanford University scientists) to knee osteoarthritis, and are known to shorten the Achilles tendon, causing restricted ankle movement. This can also lead to complications.

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