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How bad are high heels for your feet?

How harmful is this everyday choice?
/ Source: TODAY

As the saying goes, fashion is pain. Maybe that's why most women don't think twice about stepping into sky-high heels day after day. But really, how harmful is this everyday choice?

Well, it's worse than you think. According to NBC News correspondent, Dr. Natalie Azar, high heels are one of the most common causes of foot pain among women.

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Wearing heels forces your ankles to bend forward, like you're standing on your tip toes. This can cause a series of health problems. It restricts blood circulation in your lower limbs which can lead to spider veins, it can also shorten the muscles in your calves and stiffen your Achilles tendon, leading to pain and muscle spasms.

But the pain doesn't just occur in your legs and feet. Heels can also cause back and knee problems. For your body to stay balanced on heels, your spine needs to sway unnaturally, which adds stress to the muscles in your spine. This results in a sore lower back.

RELATED: These men tried wearing heels for one day — and failed miserably

As for your knees, a study from Stanford University found that heels that are 3 1/2 inches or higher put so much stress on your knees that it could increase a woman's risk for osteoarthritis, a common chronic condition of the joints which affects approximately 27 million Americans.

If you're experiencing any of these issues, it's important to visit a doctor before they get worse. To prevent these issues from occurring, try to decrease the amount of days you wear heels — or change into flats or walking shoes when you leave work.

At the end of each day, spend a few minutes stretching your quads, calves and hip flexors. Fashion doesn't have to be synonymous with pain.