The High Price Of High Heels

 We’re often told that high heels could be harmful to our health, but it will take a bit more convincing than that for most women to trade them in. Here we examine the infamous heel from a Chiropratic point of view.  

If you are the type of woman who cannot step out without slipping into a pair of pumps, you may be setting yourself up for more long-term troubles than you bargained for. According to studies, our stiletto-wearing companions increase the pressure within the balls of their feet by more than 40 percent. As chiropractors this is extremely alarming, as your feet carry the entire weight of your body and are supposed to provide a stable base for the rest of your spine.

When your feet are constantly pushed into pointy shoes or bent unnaturally this changes the entire biomechanical chain of your whole body. Not only is there added strain in your ankles, hips and knees – the lower lumbar spine and pelvis have to compensate. Most of the problems that we see with our heel-wearing patients tend to be throughout their lower back.

Wearing high heels for an extended period of time shortens the erector spinae muscles, calves and achilles tendons. Thus, predisposing you to a range of painful foot conditions. Conditions such as plantar fasciitis and shin splints are associated with shortening of the achilles tendons.

Other unsightly side effects include ingrown toenails, bunions and hallux valgus. A quick ‘google image’ search should do the trick (note: put down your lunch first). Those poor little toes! But in the end, if you’re not ready to give up those pretty pair of heels you love so much, don’t fear. We have complied some tips to help you maintain a healthy spine and look great at the same time!

  1. Shop for heels that are less than two inches high (It had to be said ladies!).
  2. Thicker and wider heels give us a more supportive and broader base. Increasing stability will decrease the strain on your joints and ligaments.
  3. Go for shoes with a wider toe box, let your little toes move around.
  4. Cushion / gel insoles act as shock absorbers, decreasing the impact on your knees.
  5. Alternate with different styles and different heel heights every day. 
  6. Take out some time each day to stretch the muscles of your feet and calves.
  7. Visit your podiatrist to have your gait and foot examined.
  8. Have your spine checked by a chiropractor, ensuring you have the correct posture and a flourishing nervous system means you can have less strain on your back and hips. Remember prevention is the key.