High Heels And Back Pain

High Heels And Back PainTalk about a major fashion disaster! High heels and back pain are arch enemies (pun intended).  Oh, I know high heels are super cute and very much in style right now.  I know they’re a must have office attire essential.  I know all the guys think heels are very sexy.  But it’s not cute or sexy to be walking around hunched over or all twisted-up in pain.

In fact, frequently wearing high heels can cause a whole host of problems.  Ingrown toenails and bunions can develop.  You could cause yourself nerve or tendon damage, knee and hip osteoarthritis as well as plantar fasciitis.  But my focus today is to help you understand how high heels cause low back pain and sciatica.  Of course, I’ll also cover tips for choosing the best shoes for back pain as well.

Heel To Heal

•  Wearing high heels causes your weight to be unnaturally shifted to the ball of your foot and toes thereby overarching your back and potentially putting pressure on the sciatic nerve.  Both of which can lead to chronic issues.

•  Painful muscle spasms and shortening of the muscles in your back and calves can also occur from wearing high heels repeatedly over time.  These problems can persist even when you’re not wearing the heels.

•  The instability as a result of walking in high heels can lead to severe ankle sprains or even fractures that often require physical therapy to get relief.  Not to mention that if you fall, you could be in big trouble.

• Stiletto-type heels (3 inches and up) are by far the most likely to cause immediate injury and long-term issues.

• Wedges and chunky heels are more stable but if too high can easily still result in postural, muscle and nerve problems as well.

• Due to the lack of arch support, flat shoes such as the now popular ballet style are no better at reducing your risk of developing chronic back pain.  Inserts or custom orthotics may help with flatter shoes, however.

• Consider a performance pump for the office.  They’re stylish, appropriate and are typically  constructed in a much more sensible fashion.

•  Wear the right size shoe.  Wait, I’ll say it again…wear the right size shoe both in length and in width.

• Experts agree that an approximate 1 & 1/2 inch wide heel with adequate arch support and sufficient toe room is your best bet.  Lower but not flat is okay as well but try to stay 2 inches or below.

•  If you absolutely cannot live without your high heels, at least try to trade off with “better” shoes each day or throughout the day, if possible.  Also try to only wear those beloved heels on days when you won’t be standing or walking very much.

It’s no surprise to me that we trade comfort for fashion.  After all, women used to faint from wearing corsets that were too tight.  I guess it’s simply a mistake of vanity and social expectations.  But I hope this post helps you choose pain-free footwear instead.  I would greatly appreciate any comments.

Walk on (comfortably),


6 Responses

  1. Wendy
    Wendy August 8, 2014 at 3:11 am | | Reply

    I stopped wearing high heels years ago and I agree with you 100%. As a retail manager who is on my feet for 8 hours a day, I learned the hard way that you need to be nice to your feet. At work, I only wear good quality walking shoes. And for dress up I may wear a low pump, but I always make sure I have a good insole with solid arch support.

  2. Sylvia
    Sylvia August 8, 2014 at 3:46 am | | Reply

    Yes, I trade comfort for fashion, especially for shoes.
    Hope I can find some nice and comfortable high heels with your advices.
    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Jeremy
    Jeremy August 8, 2014 at 11:10 am | | Reply

    Hey Denise..Thanks for all the great info and advice. I will definitely be passing this on to my wife!

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