Shows like Sex and the City and Red Carpet events are all about the dresses and high heels. Wearing the latest in style and bustling about completely unaware of the damage being done to their bodies. High heels are a great accessory but they have some big drawbacks. As much fun as it is to walk around in those beautiful, stylish, yet usually uncomfortable shoes, try to avoid wearing them whenever possible, especially if you and your friends will be walking any distance.
In my practice working with women who have leg and back pain, I have known for quite some time that heels are not good for us. There is a study that confirms what I already know to be true.
This article, published in the NY Times, shows what affect the heels had on the women:
“The scientists asked the heel-wearing women to bring their favorite pair of high-heeled shoes to the lab. There, both groups of women were equipped with electrodes to track leg-muscle activity, as well as motion-capture reflective markers. Ultrasound probes measured the length of muscle fibers in their legs.
All of the women strode multiple times along a 26-foot-long walkway that contained a plate to gauge the forces generated as they walked. The control group covered the walkway 10 times while barefoot. The other women walked barefoot 10 times and in their chosen heels 10 times.
It was obvious, as the scientists had suspected watching the woman during their coffee break that the women habituated to high heels walked differently from those who usually wore flats, even when the heel wearers went barefoot. But the nature and extent of the differences were surprising. In results published last week in The Journal of Applied Physiology, the scientists found that heel wearers moved with shorter, more forceful strides than the control group, their feet perpetually in a flexed, toes-pointed position. This movement pattern continued even when the women kicked off their heels and walked barefoot. As a result, the fibers in their calf muscles had shortened and they put much greater mechanical strain on their calf muscles than the control group did.”
As a massage therapist I have already explained this to my clients who complain of leg and back pain. And I take my own advice. I have never worn heels as part of my daily routine, but I now only wear high heels on special occasion and sometimes not even then, if I can help it. The shortened tendons in my calves will never go back to the way they were before I wore those high heels for years.
Enjoy the beauty of the shoes, wear them once in a while for a special occasion, but for the rest of the time, nothing higher than a 2 inch heel, please!!.