Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Painfully Tall

Recently one of the leading newspapers carried an article in the ever increasing heights of heels of shoes, a trend especially popular in the west since a long time.
Needless to say, that it is becoming increasingly common in the local scenes as well, with the short, not very tall and even tall girls and ladies opting for 3 and 4 inch heeled shoes. No doubt it looks very elegant, but yet it is a huge price to pay in the long run.
Anatomically speaking, a high heeled shoe causes your foot to go into plantar flexion (sole of the foot facing backwards), placing tremendous pressure on your forefoot.
This causes a shift in the centre of mass; your body adjusts its balance by making the lower part of your body lean forward and the upper part of your body lean backward. This puts increased pressure on the joints in the body, especially the distorting the S-curve of vertebral column, and leads to lower back pain, muscle imbalances etc.
While walking also, it becomes difficult to push off from the ball of your feet, at every step and puts more stress on the hip flexor muscles as well as the knee joint, which remains bent most of the time.

Some of the negative effects of heeled shoes are -
Mis-alignment in the body, especially of the lower limb.
Ankle Sprains
Shortened & Tight Calf Muscles
Shortened Achilles Tendon, which might lead to Tendonitis
Lower Back Pain
Tight Gluteus muscles

A few tips on living with heeled shoes -
Restrict the use of heels to very special occasions
It has been found that a 1 ½ to 2 inch heel is quite bearable, for short durations.
Once home, warm-up a little and stretch out your calf, gluteus, hip flexor and lower back muscles.
Hit the gym regularly to strengthen your lower limb muscles to withstand the stress.
Try to go in for heels with comfortable straps behind, to ensure better foot alignment during multi-lateral movements.
Massage the bottom of your foot by rolling a small ball under the ball of your foot for about two minutes.

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