How uncomfortable high-heels affect your posture
Following up our previous post about the effects uncomfortable heels have on your back, this week we are focusing on ‘how uncomfortable high-heels affect your posture’.
As our feet are the base of our body, its movement and posture, uncomfortable high-heels affect our entire bodies. As Jacqueline Sutera, a podiatrist as well as a spokesperson for the American Podiatric Medical Association says, “Wearing heels shifts your weight toward the balls of the feet, so your knees and hips go forward and your back must hyperextend backward in order to maintain balance.” As a result we have all seen (or been ourselves), women walking in some of the below postures.
Why is your posture changing when you wear high-heels?
Uncomfortable high-heels affect your posture by placing a higher amount of pressure on the forefoot. Your typical reaction is to adjust the rest of your body in order to maintain your balance. The lower part of your body leans forward and to compensate for that, the upper part of your body must lean back to keep its balance. Heels put stress on the back and knees as the entire weight of the body shifts forward, changing your entire body posture.
Because wearing heels shifts your weight toward the ball of your foot, your knees have to move forward to keep you balanced, putting extra stress on them. If your joints are improperly aligned, you can over time develop knee arthritis, which could require surgery in its acute form.
Just like your knees, your hips have to move forward to compensate for the extra pressure in the balls of your feet. Since your hips play a major role in any of your leg movement (walking, running, cycling etc), this can lead to pain all around your hips, including your inner thighs, butt and groin. Your hips also have control over your entire posture (think cat-cow pose), so when they’re out of line, so is your entire spine. Needless to say, that this can also lead to neck pain, Dr. Levine says.
The standard postures we can observe from most women on high-heels are hollow back, flat pelvis, and leaning backwards.
Marlene Reid, who is a podiatrist and the former president for the American Association for Women Podiatrists adds “What’s important is educating yourself on how to wear heels more effectively so you can diminish the negative effects.” Which is why in our next blog, we will discuss how to wear high-heels (the right way).
(Sources: The Spine Health Institute and The Spine Center Altamonte and American Podiatric Medical Association).