Wearing stilettos or pencil heels might be fashionable but it can have an adverse effect on health, especially bones, and may lead you in major health hazards like degenerative arthritis - also called osteoarthritis. According to with Uma Kumar, HOD, Rheumatology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), wearing high heels on a daily basis for long hours will result in additive harm of bones and emerge as a number one cause for the inflammatory disease.
Osteoarthritis, one among the most common chronic and long-lasting joint condition, is caused by joint damage where the gristle breaks down, causing the bones inside the joint to rub along. This ends up in pain, stiffness and other issues.
"Women, especially those who are below 40, are coming back to AIIMS with such joint pain-related problems caused due of wearing of high heels. If ignored, these may lead to severe health problem which might need surgery to be cured," Uma Kumar told IANS.
High heels cause unequal weight distribution on the foot bones, exposing those areas of joints to bear weight which is often not designed to try and do this. This ends up in painful foot conditions like bunions and meta-tarsalgias -- also called fore-foot pain, she said.
"Wearing heels generates pressure on knees and toes and that they begin aching if heels are worn for too long. The calf muscle is also stressed continuously ," she added. Besides inflammatory disease, wearing high heels also increase the chance for nerve pull, back pain, wrist joint pain and knee pain.
Early symptoms of osteoarthritis include pain in joints, early morning stiffness in feet for quite half-hour and swelling in feet and back. "If one is keen on wearing a heel, it's advised to go for wedges or platform shoes. The problem arises with the height of the heel and also the ideal height should be one and a half inches," Uma Kumar recommended.
She advised that heels should be avoided by teenage girls because it might affect their posture at an early age and develop chronic pains later.