Is your spine suffering for you to look good?
We would never begrudge anyone the chance to look tall and elegant with the perfect pair of heels. However, it is always worth asking: at what price? High heels change the position of our body, with the most significant change affecting the curvature of your spine. Over time, heels also take a toll on the joints in the lower body, as well as altering your standing posture and the way you walk. This all points in one direction: toward back pain.
How high heels hurt
Heels unbalance our bodies. One of the desirable effects of wearing high heels is that it pushes the chest forward, makes the legs look longer and the calves slimmer, by engaging muscles you would otherwise not be using. But the postural change that occurs is where the damage is done: the position of the heel causes the arch of the lower back to push forward; this tends to drag the spine and hips out of alignment. In this position, the muscles in your lower back are forced to work harder and the weight of the body is distributed unevenly, putting excessive pressure on the knees. So, while your feet may feel sore after a soirée, the real damage is sustained by the lower back and knees. At Hayes Family Chiropractic, we are all about establishing balance in the body, essentially the opposite of what heels do.
Changing our relationship with heels
We are willing to wager that we can never convince a woman to give up high heels completely. When you boil it down to the details, the only essential benefit of wearing heels is in attractiveness, and there is a fair argument for the importance of this factor. Instead, here are some guidelines for using high heels to minimize their impact on your spine.
- Wear them for as short a period of time as possible
- Avoid going above 2 inches in lift
- Stretch your leg muscles before and after wearing heels
- Avoid heels with a pointed toe
- Always mix up your footwear
In conclusion, the less you wear heels the better. Keep them in the closet for the most special of occasions, but avoid reaching them for anything more casual and you will be doing your back a great service!