Experts say that wearing flats might be just as damaging as killer heels.
The dangers of wearing killer heels are widely-known, and the discomfort and pain that results from wearing heels has led many women to turn to wearing flats on a regular basis. Many people are under the impression that flat shoes are a healthy footwear option, but according to many experts, this isn’t true.
Quoted in a Vogue article on the dangers of flats, Chicago-based podiatrist Dr. Megan Leahy, D.P.M. said, “There are a lot of diagnoses attributed to heels, but there are just as many caused by flats”.
Why are flats bad?
In a WebMD article titled “The Worst Shoes for Your Feet”, ballet flats were listed alongside stiletto heels as culprit for causing pains as they provide “no arch support whatsoever”. This “keeps the feet from functioning optimally and can lead to knee, hip, and back problems”.
Due to the lack of arch support, the plantar fascia (the tissue running the length of your foot) can be over-stretched and torn from wearing flats.
In addition, factors like too low a heel, or too tight the toe of the shoe may strain the “natural distribution of pressure” when you walk, the Vogue article reported. This may cause “injuries that can lead all the way from the toe to the knee, back, hips, and even shoulders”.
The Guardian reported that flats can “strain the Achilles tendon that runs from the back of the heel, and also the calf muscles in the back of the leg”, according to Mike O’Neill, a spokesman for the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists.
Flats can even cause severe injuries
The Daily Mail UK reported a number of cases of women suffering “agonising pain, broken bones, and even spinal damage” from prolonged use of flat shoes. Granted, these cases were on the more extreme end of the spectrum, but serve as cautionary tales against a dependence on flats, despite their reputation as “sensible shoes”.
What’s the solution?
For those who wear flat shoes, the aforementioned WebMD article recommends getting over-the-counter orthotic inserts to prevent mild foot pain. You can also visit a podiatrist, who can prescribe orthotic inserts to “provide arch support and reduce pressure on sensitive areas”.