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  • Writer's pictureAedra

Are heels ruining your posture?

Heels are a form of acceptable torture. Cramming your feet into mini stilts, making it hard to walk, and putting you at risk of an ankle break - yet they look so sexy. Have you ever considered the actual physical impact of wearing heels? Sure, we all know they can be uncomfortable, but beyond that, what's the big deal? Well, as it turns out, the big deal is that heels can have a significant effect on your biomechanics, posture, and muscle engagement, and not in a good way. And now almost all shoes have a slight heel life -so this is relevant to sneaker wearers.

Why do we wear heels in the first place? For some, the answer is simple: they provide a boost in height, which can be a confidence-booster or simply a fashion statement. But from a biomechanical perspective, heels are problematic. By elevating your heel above your toes, you shift your body weight forward, which places increased pressure on the balls of your feet. This can lead to pain, inflammation, and even stress fractures over time.

But it's not just your feet that suffer. Wearing heels can also affect your posture, both in the short-term and long-term. In the short term, you may find yourself leaning forward to maintain balance, which can cause your lower back to arch. Over time, this can lead to muscle imbalances and chronic pain. In the long term, heels can even cause the muscles and ligaments in your calves and lower back to shorten permanently, which can alter your posture even when you're not wearing heels.

Speaking of muscles, let's talk about muscle engagement. When you wear flats or low heels, your foot and calf muscles are engaged in a more optimal way, which helps to distribute your body weight evenly across your feet and legs. But when you wear high heels, your body weight is concentrated in a smaller area of your foot, which can lead to pain, numbness, and even tingling in your toes.

And that's not all. When you wear heels, you can also create upstream postural issues. This means that your body compensates for the changes in posture caused by the heels by altering your gait and the way you hold yourself. This can lead to pain and discomfort in your hips, knees, and even your neck and shoulders. So even if you're not feeling immediate pain in your feet, you may be causing damage to your body without even realizing it.

So, what's the solution? Should we all burn our heels and never wear them again? Well, that's up to you. I'd recommend it. Search for "zero drop" shoes, for more bio-mechanically friendly footwear. And at the very least don't wear heels every day.



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