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Are High Heels Causing Back Pain?

High Heels and back pain

Women need not have to be slaves to fashion to admit that they like how the high heels look. Although the different types of high-heeled shoes including the stilettos, pumps and other high heels offer the illusion of linger legs and can elevate the entire outfit but they do hurt people's back. The high heels can directly impact the spine and cause back injuries. According to Erica David, MD, a board certified specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation Physiatrist at Atlantic Spine Center, the high heels can cause severe back pain.

The high heels are indisputably popular and usually it is described as a heel height of about two inches or higher. As per the American Podiatric Medical Association, nearly half of women in the US wear high heels and they have an average of about 9 pairs a piece. Also, women tend to wear them regularly even though these shoes may hurt their feet.


Dr. David says that those perfect pumps may not be perfect for your back and women should be more concerned with the function than the fashion. Women should consider the toll on the entire musculoskeletal system taken by the use of regular high heel.

Significant Risks to the Spine from wearing high heels

Since the proper posture or the spine alignment maximizes the risks of maintaining a good spine health, the high heeled shoes threatens this ideal. The use of high heels forces to change the alignment of the spine and automatically put you at risk of developing the back pain. As soon as you put them on and stand up, your body tilts forward and so you lean back thereby overarching the back to make up for the forward tilt. This adds tremendous strain to the lower back as well as the knees and the hips.


Other than the resulting back pain which may or may not be temporary, donning the high heels can also cause chronic injury or worsen the existing back problems. As per the American Osteopathic Association, up to one-third of long-term high heel wearers suffer from permanent problems such as low back pain.

The unnatural posture promoted by the high heels can place pressure on the nerves in your back and may lead to sciatica which is a condition that causes pain and numbness which travel down the feet. In women wearing high heels for longer term can shorten the muscles in the back and lead to muscle spasms.

High Heels and back pain3

Tips to Prevent Heel-Related Back Problems

For some women it may be too difficult to give up wearing the high heels due to the siren song of longer legs and a leaner profile. Here are few tips for preventing or minimizing the back problems resulting from use of high heels:

  • Select shoes with a heel height of 1.5 inches or lower and a thicker heel that will spread the load more evenly.
  • Alternate wearing the high heels with other flat-soled shoes.
  • Reserve the high heel use for the occasions which do not involve extended periods of standing or walking.
  • Add a gel or insert foam to the heels you already own which will act as a shock absorber and help to reduce the strain.
  • Bring high-heeled shoes to your special event and put them on when you arrive. Change into more comfortable shoes when you leave the event.
  • Stretch your calf muscles and feet regularly while your high heels are off.

Although not every woman who wears high heel will develop back problems, but the less you wear high heels, the better you spine health will be.

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