My friends and I went out for dinner and dancing, two nights in a row last weekend! 

I’m a bit of an introvert and love being home, so this doesn’t happen often for me! 

However it was a special occasion, as a friend was in town, and when this group of ladies get together, it’s always lots of fun.

Silly me though, didn’t really plan my footwear properly and wore heels (this also don’t happen often for me anymore).

At the time I managed, but until today I’m suffering. 

My hip was sore for a few days and my calves are still sore and tight. I also know one of my friends who came out, has had back pain the last couple of days.

I’m sure this is all because of the dancing in high heels, or even just wearing heels in the first place.

So why are high heels so bad for us?

Why high heels are not good for your body

When we wear heels we change our centre of gravity by shifting it forward. 

All the good posture alignment and awareness we focus on in Pilates, goes out the window! 

Because we are walking on the balls of the feet, our foot is on an angle.   

This creates shortened calves and hamstrings and prevents us from straightening our legs fully.

Therefore this changes the way we walk  and we can no longer walk functionally e.g. straighten and extend our leg as the leg goes behind the hip. 

Our pelvis position also changes. Instead of the ideal neutral position, it moves into an anterior tilt (Anterior Tilt explained in Blog 

This then creates more of an arch in our lower back. When this happens  it is much more challenging to properly engage our core muscles. Therefore there is little support for the back. 

All these changes in the body mean that we are pulling our muscles and joints out of alignment

It’s common for people who wear high heels regularly to have neck shoulders and back pain because of these changes.  

Structurally, the plantar fascia in the foot is connected to the calf muscle, which connects to the hamstring. The hamstrings attach to the pelvis and low back, which is why wearing high heels can make your back ache along with your feet.

What should we do instead of wearing high heels?

There are times when we really like wearing heels to go with an outfit, whether that be a dress or a business suit.

So if you have to wear them, just choose a smaller heel or a more stable type of heel if possible.

Remember it’s not necessarily the height of the heel that is the issue, it is the slope of the shoe.  

So you can also try a slight platform, as this will decrease the angle between the heel and the ball of the foot. This way your weight can be distributed across the entire foot.  

A thicker heel or wedge also spreads your weight more evenly and decreases the risk of spraining your ankle. 

Try to also avoid narrow toed shoes that squeeze the toes. Narrow, pointy high heels are the worst choice for causing foot pain,.

The American Podiatric Medical Association recommends wearing wedges or heels that are two inches or less. Wedges still aren’t great for your feet, but the platform reduces the incline, helping you balance and lessening the pressure on the ball of your foot.

The moral of the story is if you know you need to wear a heel, choose appropriately.

Especially if you’re going out dancing! haha 

Let me know your thoughts on high heels in the comments below. 

Do you suffer from any pain when you wear them? 

If so try some of these stretches below to receive calf tightness.

Try these 3 calf stretches to reduce tightness

  1. Four point kneeling Calf Stretch
    Kneel on hands and knees
    Reach your right foot away behind you and straighten your leg 
    Tuck your toes under so they point to you. 
    Press your right heel towards the floor
    Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side. 
  1. Standing calf stretch facing the wall (or side)
    Stand facing or side to a wall for balance
    Keeping your hips square to the wall
    Step right leg back and reach heel to the floor as far as you can go.
    The right foot must point forward and parallel to get the most out of the stretch
    Bend the left front leg for more stretch. 
    Hold 30 seconds and changes sides. 
  1. Standing calf stretch on stairs, block or book
    Stand near a wall for balance 
    Keeping your hips square 
    Step the right heel off the stair, block or book and reach the heel down.
    Keep the right leg straight but it’s fine to bend the left leg to deepen the stretch.
    Hold 30 seconds and changes sides. 

Let me know if these stretches help 

Lots of love

Em

xo

PS be sure to share with anyone you know who wears high heels and need to know some stretches to help them. 

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