The Silly-ish season is now upon us and this is the time of the year for ‘fashion sports injuries’ occur . Looking great for the spring carnival or going out for your end of year events poses the age old question…”what shoes to wear?” Now I know you are all groaning and expecting me to ask you to wear sensible shoes instead of your preferred favorites, but there is some science behind what may be happening to your body. Lets start with a woman’s best friend: high-heels.
High heels draw your bodyweight forward onto the front of your metatarsal bones (the balls of your feet are on fire). Eventually this may lead to corns, a dropped metatarsal arch and even aggravation of the nerves between your toes (mortons neuromas/numb toes/burning foot pain). Your bones are under a lot of stress and stress fractures are common after prolonged heel wearing.
The ankle is in a very unstable position laterally (on the outside especially) as the base of the high heel is often narrow and this can lead to sprained ankles. (especially after a few champers.) Be on the look out for unstable ground and there is nothing wrong carrying your shoes if faced with mud at a racing carnival!
Your knees are slightly bent, hence when walking the body weight is transmitted through the joint evenly and can create increased loads at the front of your knee and through your patella. (a toothache in the front of your knee!)
The hip joints do not move through the range of movements needed for good quality walking, so all the strain falls on a small area within the hip at the front of the joint causing loads through the cartilage/ labrum inside the hip. You are also unable to use your gluteals well in this position and this will increase the shock/ body weight stress through your hips. So you end up with ‘glut-amnesia’ (a flat bottom) and poor hip and back control.
The Pelvis. High heels tend to exaggerate the position the pelvis which in turn increases the lordosis (small hollow) in your lower back. This not only over activates your back muscles and hip flexors, but can place increased stress and compression on your spinal joints resulting in back pain.
Bottom line is I know you are going to have some spring/summer heel time. Knowing the effect this can cause the joints listed above (and this is a brief version!) try to look after your body after your heel ‘event’. Don’t ignore joint or spinal pain and certainly don’t put up with prolonged pain in the feet. Ultimately you do not want long term joint issues due to footwear choices and there are many options available to look good with height. Your Podiatrist may be a great recourse for the best footwear for events.
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