I’m gonna cut to the chase.  This could have been a very long article that resembled something like a doctoral thesis in physiology, but I need to keep it simple.   If you’re curious as to why you can’t get rid of your back pain, headaches, digestion issues or that annoying pooch in your midsection, then you may have overlooked the consideration that your shoes are the root of your problems.  Here are five reasons to kick off those high heels:

polka dot high heel

1.High Heels Hurt Your Feet:  Bunions, Plantar Fasciitis

High heels will displace all of your weight forward and put pressure on the sesamoid bones underneath your big toe which causes a lot of pain that cannot be fixed.  Over time you can slowly break these bones.  If you’re experiencing pain now, it’s a sign you’ve already developed a problem.  Bunions form when your toes are chronically slanted inward instead of spread out in their natural positions.  When you wear high heels for a long time, your body adjusts to this uneven disbursement of weight by growing excess bone tissue that can be only corrected through surgery if it’s bad enough. Diligent rehabilitation and posture correction will help this but it takes time and commitment.  Plantar fasciitis is another foot condition high heel wearers may suffer.  With this condition, excess tension is being loaded onto the plantar fascia causing painful swelling and inflammation. Both conditions are painful and can be a result of walking in heels. Take away:  you only have two feet to stand on, so be conscious about how you treat them!

 
high heel pain

2.Decrease in Sexual Performance

Say what?  Yes, you read this correctly.  When you wear high heels, you are changing the alignment of your pelvis and the lower lumbar of your spine will follow suit.  This can cause either a pulling away or compression of the nerves creating a potential restriction in sexual drive (or desire as we refer to it sometimes).  Think about it.  If you can’t feel down there then what’s motivating you to do some bedroom cardio?  The opposite it true as well. If you feel too much down there then it could potentially cause sexual intercourse to become painful resulting in decreased sexual performance.  Ouch!  

3.  Chronic Back Pain

Like I described above, when the pelvis gets tipped forward or backwards (see below illustration), the weight, once again is distributed unevenly putting pressure and compression through the spine and thus onto the nerve roots.  This doesn’t feel good.  Now imagine if you wear heels 5 days a week and also sit at a desk for your job.  Just imagine how your posture is struggling to maintain itself under such dysfunction.  When the spine is compressed, it’s like taking a slinky that’s expanded and just squishing it together, but between each layer is cartilage and soft tissue and nerves.

 

 

 

 

pelvicflexion.jpg

4. Increases Your Midsection “Pooch”

Likewise above, high heels will cause an anterior tilt in the pelvis.  See the photo example below.  I hardly have to explain this any further because the photo speaks for itself!  But ladies, we are always sucking our bellies in to avoid that poochy profile, am I right?  So think of this image when you’re picking out those sexy pumps..  When you are walking around with an anterior pelvic tilt, the muscles in your core lengthen and weaken.  The weaker your core muscles become, the more your stomach will ‘hang’ out and the more you’ll want to draw the belly in deactivating your core stabilizers even more.  Vicious cycle.  Just kick off your heels and exhale, girl.

 

pelvictilt.png

5. Breathing Dysfunction

Just as your core becomes unstable, as I described in #4, your diaphragm is unable to drop down properly for functional belly breathing.  So your upper respiratory muscles have to pull from your neck and head to lift your rib cage up in order to take a proper breath.  Your body will, and does, compensate under dysfunction which is awesome.  Our bodies are awesome.  But the cycle that follows this pattern is such a downward spiral.  When we are unable to belly breathe properly, and are strictly breathing from the rib cage, we pull our pectorals (muscles in the chest) inward and it could lead to the perpetuation of spinal dysfunction which then leads to poor posture which leads to poor digestion and so on and so on.  Believe me, this is such a case of “and so on and so on” that it may not ever stop.  Such is the case for many things we overlook!  

 

Bottom line, high heels aren’t gonna kill you if you wear them now and then.  I love shoes too!  Heels can be a fun, sexy accessory to a killer outfit..  Wear them once in a while, not everyday.  Real talk.  They’re cute, but  walking around with a hunchback and belly pooch is not. Neither is losing the ability to sit up straight because the erector muscles in your back are so weak.  

 

Posture in high heels