Lower back pain does not even usually rate when the stylish, Vogue reading, woman of today is shopping for high heel shoes. Labels like Monolo Blahnik, Gucci, Steve Madden, Prada and Christian Louboutin are all essential parts of any fashionable woman’s wardrobe these days. They tend to make your legs appear longer, your buttocks look tighter and the calves more slender. Rightly or wrongly, women who wear high heel shoes think that they make them more appealing to the opposite sex and add to their feminine beauty. On the other side of the coin, these exact shoes have become enemy number one to many chiropractors and orthopedic surgeons. Many women today have found themselves enslaved by chronic lower back pain caused mainly by their slavery to fashion and four-inch stilettos.
When a woman takes the average 10,000 steps a day in a pair of high heels she asks a great deal of her back and puts her health at risk. This is why when symptoms are starting to show, then it is advisable to seek a spine surgeon or doctor to check your condition. High heels cause the body’s weight to be centered forward, in the toes, rather than distributed equally throughout the entire foot.
This goes against gravity and the way we were designed and causes stress on the muscles and vertebrae of the spine. When the same high-heeled woman removes her shoes, that “ahhhhh” of relief reflects her whole body’s feeling towards being back on solid ground. Lower back pain has been relieved for now but will be back to haunt her in the middle of the night through muscle spasms, soreness, and stiffness.
High heels were invented originally as a way for men and women to appear taller and show status in high society. Though men also wore them for utilitarian purposes (to keep their feet in horse stirrups), women wore them to increase their overall beauty. This trend has continued for centuries. Though “lifts” have gone in an out of vogue for men, the high heel has been consistent in women’s fashion since the 1500s. Currently, the high heel is associated more than ever with sex, youth, and high fashion. Playboy models, runway models, and celebrities are guilty of portraying the trend and increasing the high heel’s allure among the masses.
Women have probably been suffering from lower back pain due to their high heels since the 1500s. High heels can cause all of the following: calluses, bunions, curvature of the spine, chronic back pain, hip pain, knee osteoarthritis, slipped disks, and even hammertoe. Sexy, right? Research has shown that the chunky heel popular in the 1980s (think Mary Janes, spectator pumps, platform sandals and even wedge-heeled espadrilles) is no less harmful than the skinny-toed and skinny-heeled stiletto so popular today. All high heels cause increased pressure to be placed on the knees.
Most podiatrists, chiropractors and several well know orthopedists have been pushing for heels to be no higher than one half to three quarters of an inch. This height not only will save vast number of women from back problems but has also been found to be better than flat-heeled shoes in reducing lower back pain. It is widely recognized that a small amount of height is good for supporting your knees, foot and back.