Here’s Why Your High Heels May Be Causing Varicose Veins

Mention high heels, and you’ll get a lot of positive and negative comments. Here’s one negative you might not have heard: regularly wearing high heels can cause varicose veins and other health problems!

Regularly Wearing High Heels Sets the Stage for Varicose Veins

Here’s an irony: high heeled pumps interfere with the body’s ability to do just that. They force the foot and leg into a shape that makes it difficult to pump blood out of the legs and back up to the heart.

High heels force the foot into an unnatural shape, one reason why some women flatly refuse to wear them. They hurt. Those who can adapt and wear them often are literally interfering with efficient blood flow from the legs. Over time, this can lead to circulation problems.

Let me explain:

  • When you walk normally, without any footwear, the foot and calf work together to circulate blood up and down the veins in your legs.
    • Each time you lift your foot, blood fills up the veins in that foot.
    • As your foot comes down heel first, the calf muscles push blood back up.
  • When you wear high heels, the foot is never flat on the ground. All the pressure is on the front (ball) of the feet and toes.
    • This keeps calf muscles contract, so blood isn’t able to completely fill the foot.
    • Over time, blood that makes it into leg veins start to pool, which is how varicose veins develop.

Varicose veins are unattractive and often painful. You don’t want this to happen to your legs, right?

Give Your Feet and Legs a Break From High Heels

Honestly, high heels are bad for a lot of other parts of your body as well, as Self magazine notes:

  • The higher the heel, the more your spine is out of alignment. High heels literally push your knees and hips forward, forcing you to hyperextend the rest of your body backward. This can lead painful hips, back, and legs.
  • The pressure high heels put on toes can lead to ingrown toenails, hammer toes, and bunions.
  • High heels can cause pinched nerves on the ball of the foot.

Add on varicose veins, and you’ve got quite a condition to live with.

For those who love their Manolos as much as the gals in Sex and the City, try to limit wearing high heels. There are so many styles out there, so why not mix it up?

If you are self-conscious about wearing lower-heeled shoes to work, at least wear something that’s gentler on your feet during your commute. There’s no shame in wearing a relaxing pair of LuLu Moms or leather-detailed sneakers from Vans as you walk from the train. Consider softer, kinder shoes like these featured in Bustle.

If You Can’t Give Up High Heels For Good…

If you must wear high heels for work reasons, I hope you will take these suggestions:

  • Buy brands that incorporate cushioning and proper arch support. Self recommends Vionic.
  • Regularly stretch and massage your legs, especially before you turn in for the night.
  • Wear heels with different heights, and start buying lower heels.
  • Don’t buy shoes with thin heels.
  • Wear heel raises inside your shoes.
  • Buy fashion compression hose. It does exist!

If you’re still wavering about downgrading Jimmy Choo, read this article from Cosmo.

Read more about varicose veins and spider veins and how we treat them. If you have questions, contact our office for a consultation.

Palm Vascular

Palm Vascular

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Our physicians are board certified in Vascular and Interventional Radiology and are specialists in their vascular fields ranging from vascular disease, blood clots, Peripheral Arterial Disease, Dialysis Access Management and Uterine Fibroid Emolizations.

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