Are your shoes causing pain and discomfort in your back? Most women who wear high heeled shoes would admit that. But some of them just can’t bring themselves to give up the high heels.
One of the question s asked by a participants at the just concluded December 2018 sensitization workshop organized by Nigeria Ports Authority, Marina, Lagos in which I was resource person on back pain, goes thus:” Can this high heel iam wearing cause back pain”? I quickly asked her to come and demonstrate with her high-heeled shoes by walking. she walked to and fro before the participants. The participants saw the instability and strain even though she walked dexterity She ignored the strain and the discomfort which I feigned to be psychedelic and fashionable. What we don’t know is that human body adapts so quickly to any desired posture. Though initially it could be difficult but with time it adapts and structures such as the muscles, ligaments, joints even the brain accept the change
Similar question was also asked during my interaction with the Catholic Women Organization (CWO) in big church in Maitama, Abuja. It was church for bourgeois. Guess what, more than 80% wore high-heel shoes. When I watched and saw this, I became economical with my answer to the question so as not cause disaffection. Because I perceived that most of them have long written off shoes with moderate heels. Nevertheless, I made them to decide through my practical demonstration to either choose to be psychedelic at expense of the health of their back or be rational and go for moderate shoes to save their back
Statistics show that high heels are one of the biggest factors leading to back pain problems in women, with up to a third suffering permanent problems as a result of prolonged wear!.
In actual fact there are harmful effects in wearing high heel shoes. When standing in high-heeled shoes, posture changes so that the back is arched, the pelvis and chest are thrust forward, the buttocks sticks out, and the calf muscles tighten .
A high heel shoe puts your foot in a plantarflexed (foot pointed downward) position, placing an increased amount of pressure on your forefoot. This causes you to adjust the rest of your body to maintain your balance. The lower part of your body leans forward and to compensate for that, the upper part of your body must lean back to keep you balanced. This is not your body’s normal standing position.
When standing straight up without wearing heels, the body creates a 90 degree angle with the floor, which is a normal stance.
Many women actually do not realize how high heels have affected the way they walk and how it can have an impact on their back, legs or feet.
When walking in high heels, your foot is in a more fixed downward position and you are not able to push off the ground with as much force. This causes your hip flexor muscles in your legs to work harder to move and pull your body forward. Serious!
Research has revealed how high- heeled shoes affect a woman’s gait, increasing overall inefficiency and potentially making them more susceptible to back strain.
For the study, the researchers fastened electrodes to the legs of women who wore heels regularly. They then asked the women to walk along a walkway in their favorite heels while the electrodes monitored muscle activity and movement patterns. The women were then asked to complete the same circuit, only this time barefoot.
After analyzing both experiments and comparing them with results from women who didn’t wear heels, the researchers discovered that women who were habituated to wearing heels had a different gait. Even when walking barefoot the heel-wearers walked differently.
Women who wore heels displayed a shortened walking style and when they walked their feet were flexed and their toes pointed. As a result, they put greater strain on the muscles of the calf, which had shortened in response.
Wearing high heels causes lumbar (low-back) spine flattening and a posterior displacement of the head and thoracic (mid-back) spine. High heel shoes cause you to lean forward and the body’s response to that is to decrease the forward curve of your lower back to help keep you in line. Poor alignment may lead to muscle overuse and back pain.
The hip flexor muscles (muscles that help bend hip) are located on the upper front part of your thighs. They are forced to work much harder and longer to help you walk because your feet are held in a downward position (plantarflexed) and have reduced power to move your body forward. If your hip flexor muscles are chronically overused, the muscles can shorten and a contracture can occur. If a contracture occurs, this could lead to flattening of the lumbar (low-back) spine. You must choose between having healthy spine and psychedelic high heeled shoes.
Lest I forget, an indigenous pharmaceutical company (Pax pharmacy Ltd Onitsha) shall be sponsoring the first biannual free physiotherapy intervention exercise for back pain sufferers in some zones in Onitsha beginning from February, 2019. The facilitators are the Back pain Care Foundation and Omega physiotherapy & Back Pain Care clinics. The dates shall be communicated later