How high heels affect your posture?

Greta
Sausis 10, 2020
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How high heels affect your posture?

13/2/2021

There is plenty of medical research data on health, gait and posture of women who mostly wear high heels and those who prefer flat shoes. Medical professionals agree - high heels should not become a daily choice, because it is neither healthy nor safe. Wearing high heels once or twice a week, provided that you kick them off every chance you get and allow your feet and whole body to rest, should not do too much harm. 


High heels harm more than just your feet

Probably all of us have heard older women complain about their feet getting wider/flatter, developing bunions, distortion of the first toe, etc. While young, who cares how high heels might effect your health later in life. If comfortable and does not hurt - why not to wear them? 9 centimetres heels, considering comfort criteria, is a great way to look and feel extra elegant. However, if it is comfortable, does it mean it is harmless?

Physical medicine and rehabilitation physician Rūta Burzdžienė at the Spine treatment center agrees that high heels are highly popular, but they do require sacrifice. Few hours with the heels on may not feel too painful, but the real damage is far greater than aching feet or tight and painful calves. According to doctor, while wearing high heels not just the feet suffer afflictions, but excessive pressure is put on other specific muscle groups. Research has shown that while you are wearing shoes with 9 cm heels the anterior part of your foot suffers 76% increase of your body mass pressure. So when you are strolling around and your feet seem to be comfortably sitting in your beautiful 9 cm heels, your posture - pelvis and spine shifts into unnatural position, your spine and joints suffer. "When your feet is over-arched, it causes calf and feet muscle tension. Even worse wearing tight, narrow shoes, it will eventually cause toe deformities,"- asserts doctor  R. Burzdžienė.  

Few hours with the heels on may not feel too painful, but the real damage is far greater than aching feet or tight and painful calves.

Tips for high heel fans

On the other hand, flat shoes such as flip flops, for example, are not ideal for our feet either. Optimal solution for maintaining correct posture and gait is wider fit shoes with a firm 2-3 cm heel, which stabilizes ankle joint. Ideally the sole of the shoe should be fitted and personalized to maintain the correct physiological position of the foot. 

For those who choose to fly high on their heels once or twice a week, doctor R. Bruzdžienė recommends regular specific calf stretching exercises.


Exercise #1  Calf posterior superficial muscle stretch:

  • Use a towel (do not use elastic band for this type of stretching)
  • Sit on the floor with one leg flexed and other extended. Place a towel around the upper part of your  extended leg foot and pull it towards the ground (not horizontally). Should feel the stretch in your calf's posterior surface. 
  • Keep your stretched leg completely straight, do not bend your knee, and maintain your heel on the ground.
  • Hold the position for 20-30 sec. Repeat 4 times. 
Folding under the desk treadmill


Exercise #2 Calf posterior muscle group stretch:

  • Stand with your both hands against the wall.
  • Bend one leg and step forward.
  • Place your body weight on your front leg.
  • The back leg fully extended and the heel pushed into the ground.
  • Hold the position once you feel the stretch in your posterior calf.
  • Hold the position for 20-30 sec. Repeat 4 times.

Exercise #3 Calf posterior deep muscle stretch:

  • Put your left foot forward into a lunge position so that your left knee would form a sharp angle.
  • Keep your right knee and the foot on the ground and lean forward. Your left heel must stay on the ground.
  • You should feel the stretch in your left calf.
  • Hold the position for 20-30 sec. Repeat 4 times.
  • that your left knee would form a sharp angle.
  • Keep your right knee and the foot on the ground and lean forward. Your left heel must stay on the ground.
  • You should feel the stretch in your left calf.
  • Hold the position for 20-30 sec. Repeat 4 times.
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