The Painful Secrets Behind High Heels
Wearing high heels can leave a lasting impression — on your low back and neck. This is because the higher your heels are, the more they cause your pelvis to tilt forward. With more weight falling forward, you have to work harder to arch your back and get back in line with gravity.
If you’re experiencing aches and pains in your back and neck look at how high the heel is on your shoe. Consider finding an alternative shoe if you want to minimize the load on your spine. Keep in mind while shoe shopping that every shoe places the heel in a particular position. Examples of basic heel positions can be anything from a high heel dress shoe, a moderate heel running shoe or clog, a neutral heel flat like Birkenstock or a negative heel shoe such as the Earth Shoe.
Moderate heels on shoes such as running shoes have the effect of forcing a more aggressive stance and effectively throwing your weight forward into the next stride. Moderate heels in a walking shoe have a milder effect on the stride and require less compensation in the low back and neck.
Shoes like Birkenstocks place the heel in a neutral position. This means that the body can align itself using weight-bearing bones and muscles. Look for shoes in this category with plenty of support under the foot and under the heel bone to absorb shock.
The opposite of high heels are negative-heel shoes, which place the heels lower than the toes. This action causes the pelvis to decrease forward tilt, effectively flattening the low back and allowing it to relax. This position will also allow the achilles tendon to lengthen. This may or may not be a good thing if you are suffering from achilles tendonitis but great for low back pain. Earth shoes combine a negative heel with a soft, contoured footbed, which molds to the shape of your foot.
Using different technology is Masai Barefoot Technology (MBT), which has a sneaker that brings comfort to a wide variety of feet. This shoe comes with a curved sole that creates a rolling motion when you walk. According to research, the rolling motion of the sole improves your gait and reduces shock to the joints. MBT is named after the Masai Tribe in Africa, and mimics the heel-to-toe rolling action tribe members do when walking barefoot in the sand. Runners may be interested in MBT’s barefoot technology. Cont'd...