There comes a time in every woman’s life when wearing heels just isn’t worth it anymore. The peep toes , the extra 8 inches in height, and the fact that your legs look bigger doesn’t stop blisters and bunions growing.

Stop wearing heels brings these 5 benefits

Is it sounding more and more like when you wear heels? Here are five things that happen when you stop wearing heels that will just make you want to put them on forever, (or at least carry them in your bag and wear them once you get to dinner.)

1. Your legs actually get longer

Wearing heels can make your legs look longer, but leaving that option actually makes your legs longer. In a 2012 study published in The Journal of Applied Physiology , researchers found that women who regularly wear heels not only walk with shorter steps (both when wearing heels and when they go barefoot), they also have shorter calf muscles. That’s because when you’re used to pointed toe walking, the heel spends a lot of time at the ankle, rarely extending to its full, natural length. A combination of stretching, foam rolling , and, most importantly, walking on flat floors will help your calves return to their former glory, the researchers say.

2. Your back feels so much better

Wearing heels makes your butt look better because they tilt your pelvis

, forcing your butt to pull back. That increases pressure on the lumbar region of the spine, as well as the muscles that stabilize it, says New York Chiropractor Todd Sinett. Some women with high heels may even experience something called spondylolisthesis, which is the sliding of one vertebra forward over another, resulting in nerve damage and pain. When you remove your heels, however, your spine automatically returns to its proper astronomical position, reducing stress on the lower back and alleviating pain, even that associated with spondylolisthesis.

3. Heels can hurt

This is because wearing high heels not only shortens your calves, it shortens your Achilles tendons., also. When you suddenly slip on flat shoes, bringing your foot back to a 90-degree angle, you put stress on your tendons that are too tight, says Podiatric Medicine Doctor Krista Archer, Associate of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons and Member staff at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. In people with plantar fasciitis, inflammation of the thick band of tissue that connects the heel to the toes can aggravate existing heel pain. In others, it can cause heel pain for the first time. In a matter of days, weeks, or months, the tendon will return to its normal length, the pain in the heel will subside, and the heels may end up even happier than they were at first.

4. Your runner’s knee miraculously disappears

No matter how much your butt sticks out, when you wear heels your center of gravity shifts forward from where it naturally should be. That means there is additional stress on the tendons and ligaments in the knees, Archer says. Turns out, the solution to your knee problems might not be to “stop running” after all.

5. Stopping wearing high heels improves your balance

Wearing high heels regularly can make you fall easily , even if you were wearing flats that day. An example: A 2015 study of South Korean airline training assistants found that just a few years of regular high heel use leads to excess force between the muscles on the sides of the ankles, and those in the front and rear, resulting in ankle instability and dramatically worse balance. Walking in flat shoes, however, makes the muscles in and around the ankle work as designed, promoting better ankle stability and balance, the researchers say.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses. He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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