Christian Louboutin. Jimmy Choo. Manolo Blahnik. If you’re a female, these names are probably more familiar to you than your dentist’s. They are synonymous with beauty, poise, and grace on the catwalk or when walking to the opera house. They are that finalizing touch to that fierce outfit for a night out on the town or when going on your first date. They are your heels, your stilettos, your pumps.
They are also slowly killing you.
According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, 9 out of 10 women’s foot deformities can be linked to poor shoewear. The spectrum of problems can range anywhere from ankle sprains and bunions, to even higher up the body with knee osteoarthritis and low back pain.
- Chest is pushed forward, which can increase strain on your upper and middle back.
- Hips are pushed forward, causing an increased curvature in your lower back and poor alignment in your spine
- Increased pressure on your knees
- Shortening of your Achilles tendon (which attaches your calf to your heel), possibly leading to tendinitis and plantar fasciitis
How to Reduce the Risk For Injury
- Stretch your calves before and after wearing them
- Bring an extra pair of foldable flats in your purse (check out http://www.footzyfolds.com/ for an example)
- Try to limit heels to no higher than 2 inches – the higher the heel, the more pressure is placed on the ball of your foot (forefoot).
- 1-inch = 22% of body weight
- 2-inch = 57% of body weight
- 3-inch = 76% of body weight
- Opt for wedges, which distribute your weight more evenly
- Choose leather insoles to avoid forward slippage of your toes
- When buying heels, do it in the afternoon when your feet are the largest
- Vary your footwear day to day
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Louella Gopez, PT, DPT, OCS
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