Updated: May 27, 2019
Leonardo Da vinci said "the human foot is a master piece of engineering and a work of art".
Why do we love how we look in heels? Why do we like the look of it so much? Or the look that it's giving to us?
Look at this picture, how wearing heels makes our hips curvier, Look how the legs looks longer and leaner, how wearing heels exaggerate our lumbar curvature which makes us compensate with a hyperextended shoulders, in another words our chest stands out as our shoulders are brought back to compensate.
Indeed we look event more gorgeous in heels than in flat shoes but at what price?
A quarter of the bones in the human body are in the feet, toes are crammed in stiletto and unable to spread, to get into their anatomical position. Eventually, it will inhibit the correct sequence of the foot muscle activation.
Sooner or later wearing heels, stiletto will lead to muscle imbalance in the low leg, foot pain, toes dysfunction, hammertoes, plantar fasciitis, shin splint.
The more time we spent in those stilettos/ heels the more risk for our brain to forget the norm, muscle amnesia called neuroplasticity. This is why so many women so used to walk in heels can't walk without it or aren't comfortable in flat shoes or barefoot. Because for their brain the norm is in heels.
This constant position of the foot is shortening the calf muscle, the Achillies tendon causing strain in the foot.
Wearing heels change the whole balance and stability from foot, ankle, knee, hip, low back and all the way up to our head. The human foot was not designed to be stuck in a pair of shoes, specifically stilettos. The foot is made to land in a heel to toes rolling motion.
Let's do this experiment together:
1/ Stand barefoot, your back against the wall, observe how upright your body is and form a perpendicular line with the floor.
2/ Now put a 2 inches book ( like a phonebook or two thick book) under both heels, notice how your body spontaneously wants to lean forward, how hard and less natural it is to try to keep your low back against the wall.
3/ Now with an actual pair of 3 inches heels (or higher) and try again to keep your low back in contact with the wall.
Fell the adaptation from your ankles, knees and hips, as now your heel bone is not on the same level as your toes, feels how tighter the whole posterior chain of fascia (the back of your legs), how your calf feels tight and will be for the whole time you will wear them.
Wearing heels greater than 2 inches put about 3 times the body weight entirely on the ball of the foot
Diane Lee has conducted a study showing that excessive lumbar lordosis ( excessive low back curvature which is emphasised with high heels) cause pelvic to move forward as displayed on the picture above. As the pelvic lean forward when we wear heels it limits space for our abdominal organs and cause compression, which is suspected to cause gut problems, prolapsed colon, distended bladder, hemorrhoids.
Many women love to wear high heels even men like women is high heels but by getting used to this many woman realise with age that their hips are getting stiffer, they are getting disc compression in the low back, ligamentous laxity and facet joint spuring in other word multiple low back dysfunction and pain.
Women who wear high heels often find that every steps send shock waves through their lumbar spine smashing their disc, more noticeable for older women as they can't compensate for high heels in the same way that younger women can with a stronger low back and greater ankle and hip mobility.
It is very clear now that wearing heels is not great for foot mechanic, foot function and our health overall.
Erik Dalton mentioned in his book "Dynamic Body" an Arthritis care & Research study reveal that 64% of women were reporting foot & ankle pain used to wear heels regularly.
Let's not be fashion victim, fashion can bring us so far nowadays that a series of surgery can be done to correct hammertoes bunions etc.
Those surgery can be make a difference to someone's life but unfortunately, many cases end up with beautiful feet but not functional and even more painful with the scar tissue due to surgery.
Obviously some decide to go through surgery to fit beautiful sandal or get botox the reduce hammertoes but let's do not forget FOOT FUNCTION.
We have 26 bones, 33 joints and 100 muscles, we need them all for a reason.
So going for surgery only for aesthetic reason is very risky if in then end you loose the basic function of walking comfortably. If it is to improve your gait, I would highly recommend a course of manual therapy and joints mobilisation with a trained therapist alongside a series of home care tips that will be provided next week in the next episode.
Surgery is the last solution to look into, when you have tried it all with commitment and consistency, when the toe deformity have been there too long that bones have changed shape ... Well it's the last solution you have and hoping for the best.
(many surgery are successful but great recovery but i hear and see those who have great aesthetic result but difficulty to walk comfortably, can't run ...etc)
If you have any questions, please let me know, any topic you would like me to discuss about or if you are in need of a treatment check my website: