Ladies, high heels are beautiful, fashionable and a fun way to show off our individual style, but at what cost? Studies show that 72 percent of women wear heels. We wear them to dinner, to parties and even to work. That’s a lot of tippy-toe action and not a lot of support. Our feet are the foundations of our skeletal system, so that cute pair of 4-inch pumps may be throwing your ankles, hips, knees, back and posture out of whack. This misalignment can result in severe back pain and injury.
You might want to think twice before slipping on those stilettos. Flat shoes will help your spine stay straight, relax your calf muscles and evenly distribute your weight throughout your foot. On the other hand, heels higher than two inches cause a Barbie-doll effect. This means the chest is pushed forward, the lower back is overly arched, the knees are strained and the balls of the feet receive excess pressure.
The proper shape of the spine is meant to act as a shock-absorber, but high heels modify that shape causing overuse of the muscles in the back. Your posture suffers as your body has to readjust to balance on your toes. Your bottom half gets pushed forward while your top half leans back. Constant high heel-wearing may even result in anatomical changes like a shortening of the tendons in your calves or vertebrae slippage.
If you must wear high heels, the Spine Health Institute recommends these tips to maintain a healthier spine:
- Avoid wearing high heels for long periods of time.
- Stretch leg muscles before and after wearing heels.
- Avoid the pointed toe.
- Try to limit the heel to less than two inches.
- Vary your footwear day to day.
- Wear or choose insoles that will keep your feet from slipping.
- Make sure the shoe fits by buying them in the afternoon when your feet are bigger.
Always consult your chiropractor or primary care physician for all your health related advice.
Image Credit: Black High Heels by Gerard Stolk. Used under a creative commons license.
This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of The Joint Corp (or its franchisees and affiliates). You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.