Fashion and Function: Spinal Health and High Heels
As the saying goes, beauty is pain. At Get Adjusted Chiropractic, we're here to debunk that myth! One of the most painful accessories is high heels. Whether you're tying an outfit together or getting ready for a night out, high heels are a go-to wardrobe staple for many. From a chiropractor's perspective, high heels might look nice, but they can be incredibly detrimental to your spinal health and overall wellness without proper care. Dr. Justin Lewis outlines the long term effects of wearing high heels and how Get Adjusted Chiropractic can help.
The Impact of High Heels on the Spine
High heels have the potential to change your spine's natural alignment. A spinal adjustment goal is to provide proper alignment to your spinal cord and muscles — something as simple as wearing high heels consistently over a long period can reverse this work of Chiropractic care. This spinal misalignment puts your body at possible risk for back pain, in addition to merely being uncomfortable to walk in! When your spine is misaligned, your body will attempt to reverse this pain by flexing or bending the spine or hips. The unbalance caused by the high heels will be compensated for within the body, often causing pain and damage to the back ligaments and vertebral discs.
"We commonly see women who wear high heels tend to complain of knee pain initially. They note that they tend to compensate with how they sit and stand, which alters both their gait and low back positioning," details Dr. Justin Lewis. "From there, low back and hip pain develop. Women who wear heels on a regular basis are more prone to long term knee and low back pain." These changes in your anatomy can be seen outside of the spinal area, as well. Tendons in your legs can thicken, while calf muscles may shorten.
Walk Towards a Pain-Free Life
Making adjustments a regular part of your routine can help ease the pain if you are currently experiencing short or long-term discomfort due to high heels. Dr. Justin Lewis understands the complete picture of his patients' health and possible areas of concern or pain. With this knowledge, chiropractic care can be tailored to the types of discomfort you're experiencing — like that from high heels.
"There is a very simple solution: if you are going to be wearing heels, you need to prioritize wearing sneakers with a great orthotic to help counterbalance the effect of wearing heels," explains Dr. Justin Lewis. "In general, heels are terrible for your anatomy, so you will need to make up for it in other ways."
Dr. Lewis' Recommendations for High Heels
If you either can't (or won't!) part ways with your high heels, there are steps you can take to prevent immediate pain and long term spinal issues. Before wearing high heels for an extended period, make sure you adequately stretch! Stretches will help support your spine and relieve pain within your feet throughout several hours of uncomfortable footwear. Dr. Justin Lewis recommends stretching for at least 5 to 10 minutes before wearing high heels, and throughout your day if possible.
Dr. Justin Lewis suggests the following stretch before a long period of wearing high heels:
- Set a book with a one-inch spine on the floor.
- Place the ball of your right foot on the book and rest your heel on the ground while standing.
- Bend forward at the waist and try to grab your toes resting on the book. (It's okay to bend your knees if needed!)
- Hold this position for 30 seconds.
- Switch feet and repeat two to three times as needed.
- Gradually increase the height of the book by 1-inch increments per week to a maximum of 3 inches.
"For individuals wearing heels, it's important to make sure that you are stretching the muscles involved daily. You need to stretch the muscles of the foot, muscles of the calf, quads, hamstrings, and lower back muscles to avoid injury," says Dr. Justin Lewis. "You can wear heels; you just need to dedicate time to strengthening and stretching the muscles involved!"
Prevent long term pain with Get Adjusted Chiropractic! Book an appointment online today or call our office at 845-809-8300 to schedule a visit with Dr. Justin Lewis.