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Do high heels really cause varicose veins?

May 2, 2016 • the kimmel institute • Vein Clinic

The answer is yes. However this usually happens with women whom already have other contributing risk factors for varicose veins. Let me explain why this is. You probably already know that arteries in the body bring blood from the heart down to the feet. Veins have to bring the blood back up from the feet. When you walk heel to toe, your calf muscle contracts and shoots the blood up towards the heart and lungs. They actually call the calf muscle your 2nd heart. Well when you are sitting or standing for long periods of time this pump action is not working. When you wear high heels the foot is held in a downward position and you are pretty much only walking on your toes. This minimizes the full range of motion of the foot and ankle when walking. So, again, the calf pump isn’t working like it should. If you already have problems with your valves (you inherited it from your mother or had a pregnancy that caused your valve disease) then skip the heels, and grab some cute flats. If you are still not convinced that high heels are the enemy, remember your podiatrist will agree with me. High heels can also lead to bunions, heel pain, toe deformities, shortened Achillies tendons and trapped nerves. They can also cause lower back strain, because the heel causes your body to lean forward more than normal, putting excess pressure on your back. I know they are cute and make our legs look fantastic, but are they really worth risking the health of your feet and legs? Well maybe for a few hours, on Saturday night, with that new dress. But only for a few hours!

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