5 Reasons to Switch Out the High HeelsMay 09, 2017
A wise woman once said “Give a girl the right pair of shoes, and she can conquer the world”. No offense Marilyn Monroe, but I think I could cover a lot more ground with a good pair of runners, and I think my body thank me afterwards.
Despite the bad stigma heels have on being bad for your health, many women continue to be more concerned with fashion than function. A study performed by the spine institute found that 72% of woman wear high heels, 31% of women wearing them to work, and 50-77% wear them for parties and special occasions.
How do high heels affect your body?
The normal spinal curve is an s-curve, designed for shock absorption and load distribution. High heels alters the normal alignment of the spine by causing an increased arch in the low back placing increased stress the muscles and joints of the spine.
Walking in high heels mimics walking up a hill causing increased load on the calf and Achilles. The calf has to adjust to the angle, and with prolong use causes muscle to shorten and tighten. This position can also cause increased stress along the plantar surface of the foot and lead to conditions such as plantar fasciitis.
High heels decrease the base of support causing impaired balance, this places you at an increased risk for falls, ankle sprains and ankle fractures.
The higher the heel the more pressure on the forefoot or ball of the foot. A 3-inch heel causes a 76% increase in pressure on the ball of the foot vs a 1-inch heel causes a 22% increase in pressure in the ball of the foot.
Although the pointy shoe is cute and very trendy, a narrow shoe pushes the toes together causing things such as hammer toes, hallux valgus and neuromas.
- Stretch: stretch your calves before and after wearing heels (see calf stretch)
- Time: limit the time spent wearing heels
- Keep it short: limit heel height to less than 2-inches
- Variety: buy a variety of shoes, and mix it up day to day.
- Avoid the pointy shoe: pick a shoes with leather insoles and don’t buy the pointy shoes.
- While standing and leaning against a wall, place one foot back behind you and bend the front knee until a gentle stretch is on the back of the lower leg.
- Your back knee should be straight the entire time.