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Women's Health and Shoe Choice: The Correlation

By Brandi Goodman 

The shoes we wear play a significant role in our health, even if we don't know it. The right pair can help us. The wrong pair can hurt us. Many remain unaware that women's health and shoe choice has a correlation. Here it is.

The Higher the Heel, the Greater Effect on the Spine

Too many women choose to wear high heels. Some don't just choose a heel with an inch or two of height, but with several inches or more. The higher the heel, the greater effect on the spine. You're standing taller than you normally do with your feet at an unnatural angle. This affects your posture and puts stress on your spine. 

Shock and Ground Reaction Forces

Walking on a hard surface, in particular, causes shock to your body. Ground reaction force is minimal when you walk in a shock-absorbing shoe that takes the brunt of the force away from your feet and legs. High heels, however, make you unstable on your feet. They are simply for looks, and not for comfort. You receive more shock to your lower body than intended when you step down harder than usual in a shoe that puts your posture off balance. 

Musculoskeletal Pain

Because your posture is altered and your ground reaction force is more significant, you are likely to experience musculoskeletal pain. You might experience pain in your feet, legs, back, and even shoulders because of it. High heels should be kept to a minimum, such as just an inch, if you do choose to wear them. Avoid the extremely high heels and stilettos that throw your normal stance off completely. Choosing a pair of comfortable, flat shoes that fit well can help to prevent pain and problems.

Tips for Choosing the Right Shoes

You need some careful consideration when choosing the right shoes. The first step is to find your accurate size. It's important to measure your foot every few months so you can get a pair that fits for the time. It's also wise to measure in the afternoon when your feet may have naturally expanded throughout the day. Your weight can also fluctuate, causing you to go up or down a half size or more. Shoes wear out quickly, which is another reason you should be upgrading your daily-wear shoes every few months or so. 

Be sure your shoes fit well. They should not feel tight or uncomfortable in any part, including the toes, heel, and top of the foot. They should not be too big, either. This can cause you to trip easily. Find a pair that feels comfortable in all areas and has shock-absorption features. Tennis shoes are usually the best option.

To improve your health, always be sure you're choosing shoes that are comfortable, well-fitting, and shock-absorbing. Skip the high heels and uncomfortable options that do nothing for your well-being. Women's health and shoe choice has more correlation that you realize.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Portland, Ore.

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