We all know that a good pair of heels can elevate any outfit, but do they come at a cost?
While published research is unclear on whether wearing high heels directly leads to back pain, it is clear that wearing them alters your body’s biomechanics.
Your feet impact how your entire body moves and functions, and your shoes affect that stability and posture, making your choice of footwear very important.
You want comfort, stability and support for proper alignment – but you want to look good too. And we all know high heels look good!
(It should be noted, however, that flat shoes have come a long way in the fashion department!)
If you wear high heels frequently and are seeking medical care for back pain, find a physiotherapy clinic near you and book an assessment today.
The Negative Impact of Wearing High Heels
When wearing flat shoes, weight is evenly distributed throughout the feet.
High heels distort your natural balance by placing the heels above the toes, resulting in:
- Extra pressure on the balls of your feet and knees, affecting stride length, walking speed, and gait, which alters your biomechanics
- Tense calf muscles
- Your hips and spine moving out of alignment
- The forward curve of your lower back decreasing or flattening out, which can cause muscle overuse and back strain and pain over time
Even the smallest change in the foot can throw off your entire body’s alignment.
Wearing high heels makes you lean forward with the lower half of your body and lean back with the upper half to stay balanced. Even though it’s slight, it throws off the positioning of the spine.
The normal s-curve of the spine acts as a cushion or spring, reducing stress on the vertebrae. When wearing high heels, the shape of the spine is altered and you don’t get that same shock absorption as you walk, which, over time, can lead to uneven wear on the cartilage discs, joints and ligaments of the back.
I’m sure you can see where this is going: the more years you wear high heels regularly, the more likely it is that you’ll experience some type of pain as a result of wearing them.
Wear high heels frequently and experiencing daily back pain? Get relief with an assessment from a physiotherapist near you today.
Reducing Pain From High Heels
How do you feel at the end of a day of rocking high heels?
Are your feet and legs sore? Maybe your back even hurts. It’s usually a relief to kick them off and get comfy.
And yet, 72% of women wear high heels some of the time. Realistically, most won’t to give up high heels altogether.
However, most experts agree that abiding by the following guidelines can go a long way in saving you from pain experienced by repeated high heel shoe-wearing:
- Don’t wear heels higher than 2 inches; the higher the heel, the more pressure on the ball of the foot (see some numbers on this here)
- Don’t wear high heels for long periods of time during the day; if you’re going to a wedding, for example, bring flats to change into for dancing
- Don’t wear high heels every day – switch it up
- Stretch your leg muscles before and after wearing high heels
- Try to avoid heels with pointed toes, which can put even more pressure and strain on your feet
- Insert leather insoles to minimize slipping (if your foot is slipping around, it causes you to grip harder, which causes even more stress and pressure on your legs and spine)
It couldn’t hurt to try the above recommendations and see if your back pain gets better.
Book A Physiotherapy Assessment for Back Pain From High Heels
If you wear high heels frequently and have been experiencing back pain and are seeking relief, book an appointment with a physiotherapist near you to get a full assessment and treatment plan in place.