Humans do a lot of silly things to their bodies. Sometimes we do them simply because they are pleasurable; sometimes we do them because of cultural standards. But whatever rational we have, their impact is the same. Something that hurts the human body hurts the human body. Neither money nor the weight of cultural traditions can change that.
That said, of course, people are free to make their own decisions. At least, From Quarks to Quasars is not here to tell anyone what they should or should not do. But it is important for people to make informed decisions. Here, knowledge is the key.
With that in mind, wearing high heels is common in Western cultures. It is generally believed that a good pair of pumps can make or break an outfit. But as it turns out, a good pair of pumps may also make or break your knees. Ultimately, the knee is the largest joint in the human body. As such, it is built to take a lot of pressure; however, high-heel use can puts a lot extra stress on the inner sides of the knees (an increase by as much as 26%). This can dramatically increase the rate at which osteoarthritis forms due to increased wear and tear.
And obviously, there are a number of different ways that heels hurt the body.
Now this likely won't make anyone swear off high heels. After all, we all (more or less) already knew this. But it might help you remember to maybe forgo wearing them every now and again.