Tips to Remove the High Risk of High Heels
By Krista Elliott
When little kids play dress-up in their mother's clothing, what is one of the first things they do? They put on her high heels.
High heels have become intrinsically linked with adult femininity, with womanhood itself. If wearing more formal or business attire, high heels are practically mandatory. But while it may be cute as can be to see a toddler shuffling around in Mommy's pumps, the results that high heels can have on your muscles and joints ... well, that's not quite as cute.
What's Wrong With High Heels?
The biomechanically ideal walking gait is to step into the center of the heel, roll toward the forefoot,and push off evenly with the toes. When standing in a flat shoe or barefoot, your weight is evenly distributed throughout the bottom of the foot, and the spine is in a neutral position.
Heels completely change all of that, and not for the better. When standing in heels, your center of gravity moves forward, which results in you needing to arch your back and stick out your chest in order to maintain your balance. This throws the entire line of your hips out of alignment. The muscles in your legs, knees, and back strain to compensate for this off-kilter position, while the balls of your feet bear the entire brunt of your weight.
The result? Shortened calf muscles, strained ankles and knees, and foot pain. But that's just the beginning. High heel use can also lead to slipped vertebrae, compressed nerves, and spinal subluxations.
So Do I Throw Out My High Heels?
No need to toss out the Blahniks with the bathwater. You can still keep your favorite heels, but in order to keep them from affecting your health, here are some tips:
- Keep your highest heels for special occasions only, like a formal dinner when you'll be doing more sitting than standing.
- Rotate your shoe wear. If you wear heels on one day, switch to supportive flats for the next couple of days after that.
- Take care of your back and joints. Regular chiropractic care from the professionals at The Joint Chiropractic can help repair and prevent any joint misalignment caused by high heel wear.
- Size up. Buying shoes a half-size bigger than normal and inserting a cushiony insole can ease strain on the forefoot.
- Consider a lower heel. A 1-inch wedge is much easier on the joints than a 4-inch pump. And a low kitten heel is perfectly elegant with any formal or cocktail attire.
- Stretch! Regular stretching of your calf muscles, hip flexors, and lower back can help prevent muscle shortening and its effects on your joints.
- Foldable flats for your purse can be a lifesaver if your evening involves walking from venue to venue. Not only will you save your back, but you'll save your best heels from street grime and dirt.
High heels can add just the right finish to an outfit, and by using some sensible precautions, you'll look AND feel great.