As a woman who has, in the past, worn high heeled shoes, I wonder if we think enough about the effects. I am talking about feet, of course, because I defy anyone to tell me that after a day in high heels their feet DON’T hurt. I am here to tell you that there is a reason our feet look the way they do.
In the late 80s and early 90s, it was routine to wear three or four inch heels in a professional setting. It was almost required to wear the highest, stilletoist, (yes, I invented that word right now) shoes to make the legs look long and slim and the feet appear petite and highly arched. The only problem? Feet weren’t designed to be used like that.
Since I had some orthopedic problems from a young age, I already knew the deck was stacked against me and my high heels. Even if I hadn’t, the constant pressure on the balls of my feet combined with the unnatural angle and feeling as if I was constantly walking downhill on tiptoe would have given me a clue.
See, the anatomy of the foot, as it is intended to be used, has a curious effect on the entire ambulatory system. (You know, all the things that help us walk from over here to over there.) Feet support our entire upright weight while standing still and through various phases of movement.
A few years ago, I was experiencing some intense pain in my knee. Oddly, there was no moment I could point to when I injured or twisted it. I noticed it while walking the lengthy halls of a large hospital.
When I went to the doctor, part of his “prescription” included a change in shoes. “Why?”, I asked. “I wear low heels or flats.” I was informed that it wasn’t simply the height of the heel that mattered, but how it was structured.
As a person stands with his full weight on both feet, a significant part of that weight is distributed to the heel – which, necessarily is fairly broad and flat. Shoes with “kitten heels” or even low narrow wedges can disrupt that balance. Lo and behold, that disruption can (and does) travel up the body to affect the leg muscles, knees, hips and back. Over time, it can become intense and difficult to treat.
Once I changed my routine and my footwear to a more natural and supportive heel, my knee pain, over time, disappeared. I was amazed and impressed.
Listen to your medical providers. They know what they’re talking about. Give the solution time to take effect. The results will be worth it.