Hell on Heels!!!

As much as I hate to be the fashion police, (but after seeing this image) I’m forced to turn on the bright lights, get out my ticket pad, and write a few fashion citations. I know that high heels can be the finishing touch on any nice outfit, and how tempting it must be to just slip on those pumps and power through the day, but now I have to lay down the law, and send a discouraging message to those who frequent wearing high heels.

The first issue is with Posture. Clearly you can see from the first image that high heels make you step on the forefoot in what’s called plantar flexion. This causes the wearer to readjust the body to maintain balance…. the lower body leans forward, and the upper body leans back to compensate. It’s defiantly not your usual standing position. And what’s most concerning is your muscles and tendons are quite malleable and the tissues will respond and adapt negatively to the stress and tension through the distorted posture from high heels.

 In regards to gait (steps), high heels don’t allow the wearer to push off the ground with as much force with the toes, this causes a need to bend the knee more, and use hip flexors to provide locomotion. This again throws off your balance, and can lead to lumbar (lowerback) flattening and displacement which is then transmitted upwards to the thoracic and cervical spine (upper back). Over time, the result can be pain and repetitive stress injury.  Heels increase compressive forces (Valgus) on the medial knee and is often linked to knee ache and in extreme cases can be a factor in the onset of osteoarthritis.

 When it comes to the ankle, high heels shorten the gastrocnemius and soleus (calf) muscles and have been shown to increase forces through the Achilles tendon. This disrupts the distribution of force through the plantar fascia which has a continuous and direct myofascial link through entire superficial back line of the body. The fascia of the superficial back line starts in the toes, goes up the legs, through pelvis, back, and neck and then finally over the head through the exrtacranial fascia to finish the supraorbital ridge (above the eyebrows). My point is that if you have issues in any of the areas just mentioned, and you frequent high heels, I’m sorry to say that’s likely fashion that’s causing your dysfunction.

 So, what to do? I’d like to keep it simple and say don’t wear’em. But… I’m sure some ladies out there can’t quit cold turkey. So as a rule: stick to heels under 2 inches, or at least alternate days between flats and heels. And last, if you must keep your fashionable foot favors, please only wear them for special occasions. And remember it’s not a fashion crime to feel comfortable and pain free.

Yours in Health,

 CH

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