Unlike movie characters that seem to be able to run their entire lives in 5-inch heels, women in the real world can suffer some serious consequences from wearing too-high heels too often. Often, this can include hip pain. There are some ways to sport the look and reduce the shoe-related ailments. However, most women will have to lower their heel height as they age and alternate more frequently between heels and flats.
Hip pain can be brought on by wearing heels, due to the increased height and the angle of your foot. This shifts your center of gravity and forces you to walk in a way that your body was not made to.
Your feet cannot operate properly when wearing high heels because of the shift in your center of gravity. This forces other parts of your body, including the hips, to compensate for your feet by overworking. Consequently, the hips eventually become over-worn, which can cause pain.
When you do walk in heels, you can adjust things to help avoid hip pain. Stand up straight and keep your abdomen tight. This will pull the body back onto the heels, help redistribute your weight and shift your center of balance closer to where it was intended. Sway as you walk to relieve pressure from the rest of your body.
When you stand in heels, don’t put the pressure of your body on your toes. This causes stress on the hips and knees. Instead, put the pressure on the heels of your shoes, which will relieve hip tension.
In order to continue to wear heels but lessen hip pain, only wear shoes that fit your foot perfectly and have cushion. This will lessen the impact on your hips. Insert cushions into your favorite heels if that helps.
Pay attention to the slope of your heel. The smaller the slope, the better the shoe will be for your hips. Many shoes have a 3-inch heel but only have a 2-inch slope because the front of the heel is raised as well. Look for thicker heels, which will cause you to shift your weight less.
References and ResourcesWeb MD: Tips to Avoid Foot Pain From High Heels; Colette Bouchez; 2010
Dr. Ben Kim: Why Wearing High Heels is Bad for your Health; August 2008
San Francisco Gate: Guide to Walking in High Heels without Pain; Carolyne Zinko; December 2008