The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

In Addition to Bunions, High Heels Cause Migraines? Michelle Bachman Thinks So

Posted by on Monday, April 8th, 2013


I’ve been a migraine sufferer since I was a little girl. I see flashing lights, my hands go numb, I can’t stand noise, and I feel like my head’s going to explode. Migraines are quite common, 25% of women and 8% of men will have one in their lifetimes, but little is known about the potentially debilitating disorder. We don’t know what causes them or why. We know they’re characterized by an electrical storm in the brain but how that storm starts, where it comes from, and why some people are susceptible while others aren’t remains a mystery. What does this have to do with feet, you might ask? It turns out, quite a lot.


Most migraineurs (the fancy word for a migraine sufferer) are constantly looking for migraine triggers. When these headaches hit, most people can’t do much of anything. If I get one while I’m out driving, I have to pull over and wait… and wait… and wait… until I can see well enough to drive myself home. As you might imagine, it’s a safety hazard when you suddenly can’t see and you’re driving on the interstate. Migraineurs blame everything from strawberries to fluorescent lights, chocolate to exercise. The only thing I’ve found is that a lack of sleep almost always leads to headaches (and it’s no good for your long-term brain health either.) During the presidential campaign, Michelle Bachman blamed her high heels. This met quite a lot of media ridicule but after the hullabaloo died down, the consensus was there may be something to it.


The head bone’s connected to the foot bone. Well, not exactly. It’s more like the head nerves are connected to the neck nerves, which are connected to the back nerves, which are connected to the… you see where I’m going with this. While there have been no definitive scientific results linking heels with the headaches, the anecdotal evidence is mounting. Yes, you’re right, correlation is not causation, but when it comes to high heels, correlation should be enough to switch to flats for a while.


I think the important lesson here is that the way you treat your feet is directly linked to your overall health. Your body isn’t a bunch of parts working independently. It’s a tightly integrated system. When your toes are tightly squeezed into a pointed position, all your weight is on the balls of your feet, your calves are pinched and cramping, and your back is thrust forward in an unnatural arch, you may find your body reacts with all sorts of referred pain. As if we here at Healing Feet needed one more reason to advise against wearing high heels! (Learn more about migraines and your potential triggers here).


If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.