When I was in my twenties, high heels were the de rigueur fashion statement for my business attire. I commuted to work wearing sweat socks and sneakers along with my business suits and attaché case, and then changed into high heels once I arrived at the office (it was a popular trend in the late 80s—as illustrated in the movie, “Working Girl” with Melanie Griffith).
As women, we are all too aware of the touted “benefits” of wearing high heels, which include accentuating our legs, enhancing our height and posture, and giving us a certain “sway of the hips” as we balance ourselves with every step. Here are three “hidden dangers” of wearing high heels on an everyday basis that can negatively impact your body:
YOUR SPINE: Wearing high heels pushes your lower back forward, which misaligns your hips and spine. Because walking in high heels causes you to lean forward, the upper part of your body must slightly lean back in order for you to maintain your balance. This can cause lumbar spine flattening. Sciatica, a condition that causes shooting pain, numbness and tingling from the hip to the foot, is caused by compression of the sciatic nerve in the lower back.
YOUR FEET: Increased pressure is put on the balls of your feet and your toes, and affects the metatarsal joints and interdigital nerves traveling between the bones of the toes. This can lead to excruciating pain and inflammation. Women can also develop bunions—bony protrusions at the base of the big toe—corns, calluses and even disfiguring hammertoes from wearing high heels for extended periods of time.
YOUR LEGS: Wearing high heels raises your ankles and causes your calf muscles to be held in a shortened, contracted position. Prolonged wearing of high heels shortens the fibers in your calf muscles, and causes your Achilles tendon, which stretches from the bones of your heel to your calf muscles, to thicken and stiffen. This can cause calf pain that lasts long after you’ve removed your shoes.
Fortunately, you don’t have to suffer in silence during your workday. If you experience physical pain from wearing high heels, here are suggestions that can help put some spring back in your step:
- Buy Name Brand Shoes That Feature “Comfort”: There are many high-quality, name brand shoes that offer comfort along with style for today’s woman. You can find casual, business, or formal footwear that is designed to provide the proper flexibility, soft insole, foot protection, and arch support that you need to put in a long day. “Kitten heels” are also popular and versatile pumps for day or evening with tiny heels that are stylish and much more comfortable than high heels.
- Visit An Orthopedist: An orthopedist is a doctor who specializes in treating medical conditions of the bones, joints, ligaments, nerves, muscles and tendons. If you suffer from pain in your lower back, calves, or feet, make an appointment with an orthopedist to get an examination, and seek solutions that will make you feel better.
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