High heels are a fashion staple. Women from different eras have donned these beautiful footwears and it seems like they won’t go anywhere soon. They can go from little kitten heels to towering heights depending on the wearer’s needs and preferences.
Wearing high heels has a physical and psychological effect on women. According to this blog article from Cornell University. The write-up noted that the obsession with high heels likely derives from the fact that the act of putting on a heeled shoe and walking around tends to accentuate the womanly gait.
Likewise, this Huffington Post article said that high heels have an effect on men. It continued to note that in a study done by an expert that heels simply make women more attractive to men.
No wonder that women continue to wear heels even though they may bring about body pain.
How is that possible?
Here’s the thing -- anytime you put your body in an unnatural stance or position, some body parts overwork to compensate.
Wearing heels is no exception. Aside from provoking foot and ankle problems in women, high heels can cause the wearer to walk unnaturally. High heels, even those over two inches, may cause much of the body’s weight to be placed on the toes. To ease the imbalance, the wearer tends to lean backward and may overarch the back.
Sajid A. Surve, DO, co-director of the Texas Center for Performing Arts Health and an associate professor at the University of North Texas Health Science Center Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, said in an article from the American Osteopathic Association said that the unnatural posture can also strain the lower back, hips, and knees.
“From an osteopathic perspective, we’re looking for the body to be centered from head to toe. High heels put the foot at an angle and pull muscles and joints out of alignment, so the effects aren’t limited to the feet,” Dr. Surve explained.
The doctor of Osteopathic Medicine continued: “It’s not unusual for people who spend lots of time in high heels to have low back, neck and shoulder pain because the shoes disrupt the natural form of the body.”
High heel habits
A Cleveland Clinic article explained that it’s best to buy high-heeled shoes that do not border on extreme height or tightness. While they may look pretty and fancy, your high-heeled pair might give you some serious body pain.
- Choose a pair that has enough space for your toes -- It’s wise to avoid buying any shoe that feels tight around your toes — and that goes for heels, flats, or sneakers.
The Southeast Orthopedic Specialists recommended buying platforms instead. With thicker heels, the body’s weight is evenly distributed across the feet.
- Avoid wearing super high heels if you can -- Those five-inch heels may make your legs look longer but they are not the best choice.
“The best heels are less than two inches,” said Dr. Georgeanne Botek, DPM, an expert cited in the Cleveland Clinic story
For more guidelines, you can check this article before you go shopping.
- Give your feet some rest -- Let your feet breathe and have a break.
“If you do wear ultra-high heels, avoid wearing them on consecutive days or for longer than four hours at a time. Wedges or platforms are kinder on the feet than a narrow high-heeled shoe,” explained Dr. Botek.
- Do your stretches -- The Southeast Orthopedic Specialists shared this routine before and after wearing heels:
- Find a book with a one-inch spine. Lay it on the floor.
- Stand up and place the ball of your foot on the book and put your heel on the ground.
- Bend at your waist and grab your toes on the book. It’s okay if you need to bend your knees a bit.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds.
- Switch feet. Repeat two or three times.
Stay beautiful and pain-free
High heels are stylish. It just makes sense why women tend to wear it and sacrifice comfort in the process. Beauty does come with a price, but you can always choose to make healthier choices for your health.