Are heels really detrimental to your spine health?

For many women, wearing high heels is the perfect footwear to complete a fashionable outfit. However, studies have shown that high heels can affect your spine health, as well as other parts of the body especially hips and knees.

Furthermore, high heels cause damage to foot such as damage toe and leg tendons. It can also be a major cause of low back pain in women who wear heels daily. This is because body compensates for the unbalance caused by heels by hunching your back or bending your hips. To maintain balance, back, leg and hip muscles become stiffened and this tenseness on muscles can lead to muscle fatigue and muscle strain.

How heels affect your body:

  • Shifting of body weight which affects curvature of the spine
  • Increase pressure on joints in the feet, ankles, knees and hips
  • Poor movement of legs
  • Put extra pressure in the pelvis due to body weight is shifted forward
  • Ingrown toenails and damaged leg tendons
  • Muscle spasms
  • Osteoarthritis in the knees

How heels hurt your spine

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Degenerative changes of the spine such as…

  • Spinal stenosis: which decreases spaces within your spine
  • Spondylolisthesis: which one vertebra slips forward onto the one beneath it
  • Foramina stenosis: narrowing or tightening of the openings between the bones in your spine

The high heel stretch

Stretching of the foot and calves can loosen up leg muscles and relieve back pain caused by wearing high heels.

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  1. Lay a book on the floor
  2. Place the ball of the foot on the book and rest your heel on the ground
  3. Bend forward and try to touch your toes on the book and hold for 30 secs

However, it is possible to wear high heels without affecting spinal health. Try not wearing heels for long periods of time and stretching leg muscles before and after wearing heels. Here are some tips to reduce high heel pain:

  • Avoid wearing heels over two inches daily
  • Try to wear flats, boots or other types of shoes when not wearing heels
  • Try not to squeeze your feet into the heels

It is fine to wear heels occasionally, just do not make it a habit because unhealthy habit can lead to chronic pain. Choose wisely before wearing shoes that make you feel better. Wearing comfortable foot wear with stable support, your spine will feel better over the long haul.

At Lakeside Chiropractic, our chiropractors thoroughly assess the likely cause of your spinal pain, and if attributed to poor posture, can recommend a posture brace, give advice about exercises and stretches which may assist and provide treatment to help you improve and maintain optimal spine health. For further enquiries or to book an appointment you can visit our website online at www.lakesidechiro.com.au or give us a call on 9300 0095.

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