“Women tell me they love how high heels make them feel taller and more beautiful and the way their legs look when they are in heels. While high heels may help you feel and look more beautiful, they may not be good for your vein health. The higher the heels, the more they negatively affect the venous blood flow,” says Dr. Kenneth Harper.
Over 25 million Americans have varicose vein disease. Though it is more common than heart and arterial (PAD) disease combined, it is underdiagnosed and undertreated. Many of these patients and their physicians are unaware they have a problem. That may be because the symptoms of vein disease are vague: heaviness, aching, swelling, tiredness, burning, stinging, and leg cramps. Some of the visible signs are obvious: unsightly spider veins, bulging varicose veins, and blood clots. Others are less so, such as leg swelling, skin changes, and ulcers.
Since vein problems get worse over time, it is important to engage in a healthy lifestyle and see a phlebologist if you have any of the signs or symptoms of vein disease. The phlebologists at Vein Specialists of the South recommend these Healthy Veins for Life™ principles:
High Heels and Varicose Veins
To understand the problem with high heels and varicose veins, you need to know about venous blood flow. The venous system is a combination of pipes, pumps, and valves. The veins are the pipes that carry the blood. Walking activates the foot and calf pump, propelling the blood up the leg veins. One-way check valves keep the blood flowing up the veins, overcoming gravity as they return blood to the heart.
Normal walking coordinates the foot and calf pump. When the foot is off the floor, the foot veins fill with blood. As the heel and arch of the foot contact the floor, the blood flows into the relaxed calf veins. The calf muscles then contract which propels blood up the deep veins.
High heels change the natural walking motion, shifting the weight to the fore foot and toes and causes the calf muscles to remain contracted. This results in a decrease in the filling of the foot and calf veins and a less forceful calf muscle pump. This lost efficiency causes pooling of venous blood in the leg.
Dr. Harper recommends 5 suggestions if you love your high heels:
Call Vein Specialists of the South today at 478-743-2472 or visit www.veinspecialists.com to learn how you can enjoy Healthy Veins for Life™, or if you have more questions about high heels and varicose veins. Dr. Harper is the founder and medical director of Vein Specialists of the South, LLC, and the Comprehensive Vein Training Center™. He is a diplomat of the American Board of Surgery and the American Board of Venous and Lymphatic Medicine.