Alright, ladies. This may come as a heartbreaker to some of you, but I have to say it – I am not a fan of high heels. Not because I think they are unfashionable or untrendy. Instead, I dislike high heels because of the strain they can place on your joints and the postural alignment problems they often cause.
Yes, it is true. I have had women come to me with back pain and knee pain simply because they walk around in high heels all day.
So why are high heels problematic and what are some solutions to get around those issues? Glad you asked.
First, let’s discuss why high heels can be hard on your joints and your posture. To help you visualize these structural changes, take a look at this infographic HERE.
As you can see in the postural alignment picture, high heels cause your body to take on, as they call it, a “S” shape – your low back is arched, your knees are pushed forward, your neck is slightly extended, and lastly, the ankle joint is constantly stuck in a plantarflexed (toes pointed downward) position. I have talked in the past about how this posture is not ideal, but basically, all of these positions can put unwanted stress on your joints.
Many women say, “But Zach, this “S” alignment helps my butt and chest stick out.” While this may be true, it is only artificially creating this image. High heels may help your butt to look bigger, but, in actuality, high heels are not doing good things for the shape of your glutes.
You see, when you wear high heels, your glutes, and even your abs, are essentially shut off! This means they do not work nearly as much as if you are in flatter shoes. And, we definitely don’t want that, right?
So let’s look at the cons so far: unwanted stress on multiple joints in the body, and decreased activation of two very important muscles – the glutes and abs.
So what are some things you can do to alleviate these problems if you are forced to wear high heels?
1) Only wear them when you HAVE to.
2) If you are standing, fidget often. Do not just stand in one stationary posture. Try shifting your weight around. This will help redistribute some of the joint stress.
3) Alternate between sitting and standing. Sitting is not always something I recommend, but in the case of high heels, it can be a good thing.
4) Buy lower high heels. Not much explanation for this one:)
5) Squeeze your glutes occasionally. This may sound crazy, but it will help your alignment.
6) Pull your toes up occasionally. Simply shift your weight to one foot and pull the opposite toes towards the ceiling. This will help stretch out your calf muscles and facilitate the muscles on the front of your leg.
So there you have it. I hope I have convinced some of you to decrease your high heel wearing. If you are forced to wear high heels then try out some of the tips above.
Have a great week!