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Can wearing high heels contribute to leg cramps and how to counteract it?

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Sandra Hopkinson
Paula Stuart Product Researcher Updated Date: [Insert Date Here]

Yes, wearing high heels can contribute to leg cramps. This is due to several factors related to the design and impact of high heels on the body’s biomechanics:

  1. Altered Foot Position: High heels keep the foot in a pointed (plantarflexed) position, which can shorten and tighten the calf muscles over time. This constant tension increases the risk of cramps.
  2. Increased Strain on Legs: Wearing high heels shifts your body weight forward, increasing the strain on your leg muscles, particularly the calves and toes, which can lead to cramps.
  3. Poor Circulation: High heels can also impact circulation in the lower legs, leading to reduced oxygen and nutrient supply to the muscles, contributing to cramping.
  4. Imbalance and Muscle Fatigue: The unnatural position of the foot in high heels can cause imbalance and overwork certain leg muscles, leading to fatigue and, subsequently, cramps.

To counteract the effects of high heels and reduce the risk of leg cramps:

  1. Limit Wearing Time: Wear high heels for limited periods and avoid wearing them every day. Opt for lower heels or flats when possible, especially when you expect to be on your feet for extended periods.
  2. Choose Well-Fitted Heels: Select heels with a proper fit, adequate arch support, and a cushioned sole. Avoid extremely high heels or shoes with a narrow toe box.
  3. Stretch Regularly: Regularly stretch your calf muscles and feet. Stretching exercises like standing calf stretches, toe points, and ankle circles can be helpful.
  4. Strengthen Your Legs: Engage in exercises that strengthen your calf muscles and improve overall leg strength and flexibility.
  5. Alternate Footwear: Switch between high heels and comfortable, supportive footwear throughout the day. This can help relieve the strain on your leg muscles.
  6. Foot Massage: Regular foot massages or using a foot roller can help alleviate tension in the foot muscles.
  7. Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water to maintain muscle function and prevent cramps.
  8. Proper Posture: Be mindful of maintaining good posture while walking in high heels to reduce unnecessary strain on your legs.
  9. Orthotic Inserts: Consider using orthotic inserts designed for high heels to provide extra support and cushioning.
  10. Rest Your Feet: Take breaks to rest and elevate your feet when wearing high heels for extended periods.


If you frequently experience leg cramps and wear high heels regularly, it may be worth considering reducing your heel height or wearing them less often. If cramps persist, consult a healthcare professional for personalized advice and to rule out other potential causes.

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