It’s inevitable… most of us wear heels; they make you feel classy, confident and unstoppable (however in the long run, they might be the reason for stopping you from doing activities you’re suppose to have no problem doing).
You don’t have to be a brain surgeon to figure out that high heels are bad for your feet. But who knew those six-inch stilettos could also cause posture problems and even toe deformities.
High heels put all your body’s weight on our forefoot, causing you to adjust the rest of your body to maintain balance. The bottom half of your body leans forward so the top half must lean back—this disrupts the normal ‘S’ curve of your back, flattening your lower spine and displacing your mid-back and neck. It is very difficult to maintain good posture in this position—not only is it detrimental to the health of your spine, ‘stooped over’ is not a sexy look!
High heels alter the balanced position of a person’s body. When a woman wears high heels, a new dynamic equilibrium occurs. Dr. Brassard compared the musculoskeletal system to a mobile, hanging in dynamic equilibrium, each part balancing the other. If one part becomes ‘fixed,’ the whole system will compensate with a movement or restriction. Essentially, wearing high heels for any length of time increases the normal forward curve of the back and causes the pelvis to tip forward. This alters the normal configuration of the pelvis and spine necessary for the body to maintain a center of gravity.
“The legs are the foundation of the musculoskeletal system, and a person standing flat-footed or bare-footed would be completely balanced,” said Dr. Brassard. “While standing, the hamstrings are taut and both parts of the pelvis are stabilized so that the support is normal. By bringing the heel up, you encourage the shortness of the hamstring muscles.”
And if that doesn’t send you running for your flip-flops, then the terrifying list of foot deformities common in habitual heel wearers might: deformed and thickened toenails; calluses under the ball of the foot; Achilles tendonitis; bunions (a large bump on the side of foot); hammer toes (the curling up of toes like a claw); and horror of all horrors, a new bone growing off another foot bone, also known as a ‘pump bump’. Those five-inch Pradas don’t look quite so pretty now, do they?
Still not convinced? Here’s some shocking facts:
- 80 per cent of all corrective foot surgery is carried out on women, with 90 per cent of women experiencing foot problems
- 29million. The amount in UK sterling it costs the UK National Health Service each year to repair the damage done to women’s feet caused by excess wear of high heels, according to a 2008 study
But let’s face it… high heels aren’t going to be banned anytime soon, so here follows a few tips.
- Try following a balanced foot diet…mixing and matching according to the occasion is a good start. If you’re popping out for lunch or movies with the girls, wear a fabulous pair of flats
- When walking, you place three times your body weight on the foot, so wedges help distribute the weight more evenly than a stiletto.
Minimize your time spent in them. Take a pair of flats with, and when walking home quickly alter your heels for some flats.
One small (and flat) step for women, one giant leap for health