Are High Heels Worth It?

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Believe it or not, one of the first things I do with female clients of mine who come to me with back pain is to get them to stop wearing high heeled shoes all the time. I know there are many men out there cursing my name after having read that, but well… be it.

Would you rather look good or have better posture and no lower back pain? High heeled shoes place you into hyperextension, which not only increases stress on the lumbar spine (namely by promoting an anterior pelvic tilt), but also does a number on ankle mobility. And while I enjoy high heeled shoes as much as the next guy, in my opinion they’re just not worth it from spine health standpoint.

I’ve seen it time and time again. When female clients of mine stop wearing high heeled shoes everyday, their chronic lower back pain drastically decreases. Additionally, their kyphotic (rounded back) posture improves because the lumbar spine is no longer in excessive lordosis.

Additionally, in an article written by Yael Grauer, she states:

“According to a series of articles in the Washington Post, heels are even worse than I’d imagined. The long list of heel-related ailments include corns, callouses, bunions, stress fractures, joint pain in the ball of the foot, Morton’s neuroma, hammertoe, tight Achilles tendons and more. Heels cause instability and push the foot too far forward, which increases pressure on toes and joints, throws your natural alignment out of whack and can cause low back pain and osteoarthritis of the knee. Heels also increase the possibility of ankle sprains. The higher the heels, the higher the risk. The American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine reports that a 3” heel creates seven times more stress than a 1” heel. Pointed-toe shoes can cause hammertoes and bunions. Open-backed shoes can inflame the tendon connecting the calf muscles to the heel.”

Furthermore, “Long term wear and tear (caused by high heels) will result in degenerative changes in the spine, such as foraminal narrowing, disc degeneration and lipping and spurring on the vertebral bodies. Continuing the narrowing of the foramen will result in pressure on the nerve roots,” he continued, “resulting in a myriad of problems ranging from the musculoskeletal to organ malfunction.”

So ladies, are high heels worth it?

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