Are High Heels Linked To Varicose Veins?

For us women, there’s nothing better than shopping for shoes that match our outfit. When you wear high heels at work – it goes so well with your formal attire.

But they are not healthy for your legs.

Of course, you can wear high heels on a special occasion. Moderation is key for when you think you might be susceptible to varicose veins. High heels tend to decrease the action of leg muscles that help move blood back to the heart. This is turn increases blood pressure in your lower leg.

According to the study conducted by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, 30 women were tested with no varicose vein symptoms before the trial. They walked on a treadmill – barefoot and then walked in three heel sizes — the pressure in their feet was measured in all scenarios.

The study concluded the continuous use of high heels brings about venous hypertension in the lower limbs. It could result in being a contributing factor to venous disease symptoms.

Are High Heels Bad for Your Legs?

To understand the link between high heels and varicose veins, you should know how the blood flows. Our venous system is a mix of pipes, pumps, and valves. The veins act like pipes that carry the blood. Walking, running or any leg movement activates the foot and calf pump, moving the blood up the leg veins. One-way check valves keep the blood flowing up the veins, battling gravity as they return blood to the heart.

Walking coordinates our feet and calf pumps. When one foot is off the floor when walking, the veins in the foot fills with blood. As the foot contacts the floor again, the blood from the heel and arch of the foot flows into the relaxed calf veins. The calf muscles then contract to push up blood into the deep veins.

High heels change this regular walking motion. It shifts the weight to the forefoot and toes instead of the heel. This causes the calf muscles to remain contracted even when walking. The veins in the feet fill up with lesser blood which results in a less forceful calf muscle pump.

Be High Heel Wise        

1. Wear high heels for special events.
2. Limit the height of the heels.
3. Pair compression stockings with high heels.
4. Use heel raises when sitting or standing.


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