The Bane of Ladies’ Shoes: Start Choosing Comfort Over Style

Every day, millions of women don a ravishing pair of heels or cute flats before they set out for the day. Their declaration of style, however, comes at a price. They come home with aching feet, sore hips and lower back pain. It begs the question: what are those killer shoes really killing?

 

The Anatomy of a High Heeled Foot

With superior weight distribution and shock-absorbing power, your bare feet were engineered for walking. If you watch a bare foot as it hits the ground, you can see the way it flattens out. Toes spread, bones shift gracefully and arches help you spring back. That’s your body’s natural bioengineering at work.

Stuffing that foot into the wrong shoes sabotages all of Mother Nature’s hard work. Bones do not have enough room to shift and toes get crammed together. In high heels, the heel-to-toe shift of your foot becomes short and staccato. The muscles in your calves tighten, your hips tilt and your back sways unnaturally.

 

Is It Really That Bad?

Sore arches, blisters, some form of ankle pain (see here), tight calves and that twinge in your lower back are only the beginning. You continue to walk like you are wearing heels even after you take them off. Your feet hurt in more supportive shoes because your body as adapted to a bad gait, and your muscles become injury-prone.

Then, the pain gets worse. Sciatica and headaches are triggered by the strain on your muscles. You get spider veins caused by poor circulation, crooked toes and the horrible pain of plantar fasciitis. Studies have found that women who wear heels can lose up to 13% of their calf muscle length. You can even suffer from bone and nerve damage.

 

high heelAbandoning Form for Function

The moral of the story is clear. On a day-to-day basis, ditch the heels and uncomfortable flats. Your feet need a shoe that is built to compliment what Mother Nature gave you.

 

Shoe guidelines

Choose wide heels no higher than 1-inch
Make sure you are buying the right sizes and widths
Choose shoes made with orthopedics in mind
Use cushioning inserts
Only wear heels on days where standing and walking will be at a minimum
If you cannot bear a permanent split from high heels, wear them no more than once a week

 

Reversing the Aches

If you have been wearing heels for a while, even just a few years, you might find that you need more than comfortable shoes. Stretch our your calve muscles and tendons every day to improve flexibility and “springiness.” You may need to seek help for knee pain and other complaints, use gait-correcting inserts and even get physical therapy.

Being stylish is never worth chronic pain and permanent damage. Be a part of the sensible shoe movement and put your body first. Once you are free from the constant pain, you will wonder why you ever did that to yourself.

 

 

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