Chicago Chiropractic

A Unique, Multidisciplinary Approach to Pain Management

Are Your Heels Causing Permanent Damage?

While women have worn high heels for decades in an effort to look sexy, it is increasingly having a bad effect on their back, not to mention their knees and feet. Those pricey Manolo Blahniks may look great, but is the price your back pays really worth it?

When you wear high heels, they throw off your center of gravity, causing your pelvis to tip forward and forcing the muscles in your hips, thighs and lower back to work harder, which can lead to tightness and occasional spasms. They also create a greater curvature in your lower back, which makes the buttocks more prominent and lengthens the appearance of the legs (which is what makes high heels “sexy” looking).

If you wear high heels for any length of time, your body posture adapts to it, making some muscles work harder than they should and letting others  become weak, causing back pain. Heels cause your muscles to tighten and shorten, which pulls on the lower back. High heels combined with a desk job are the worst of all, as the hip flexors become shortened from being in a sitting position all day.

If you don’t want to give up your high heels there are a few things you can do to reduce long-term damage to your back:

1) Stretch your hip flexors regularly – You can reduce back pain by keeping these muscles stretched. To do this, kneel on one knee on the floor with the foot of the extended leg slightly forward of the knee. Then move your hips slowly forward so your knee is over your foot. You should feel a gentle stretch in the hip of the kneeling leg as you do this. Hold for 20-30 seconds and do twice on each side.

2) Choose a lower heel (we know this is a tough request!  But remember– your muscles are being strained).  At least try to buy shoes with a heel no higher than 2 inches. This will still achieve the elegant effect you are looking for without putting excessive stress on your musculoskeletal system.

3) Tighten your abdominal muscles – Strengthening “core” muscles in your abdomen by practicing yoga or pilates will help you maintain good posture while walking in heels and take some of the load of your upper body weight off your lower back.  This is also a great reason to get more cute yoga gear, after all it’s for the health of your back! For a fitness plan and evaluation you can schedule an appointment with  a CHIROPRACTOR.


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How high are your heels?

4) Take a day off!  Opt for a chic pair of flats once or twice a week.  This will build up the other important muscles that are being ignored when you are teetering in the clouds.

5) Have regular chiropractic care– Dr. Kauf’s experience in chiropractic care enables him to realign a spine pulled out of alignment by high heels.  He can also suggest appropriate exercises to help strengthen weak muscles.  Come in for a visit to see what else will help you avoid future pain.

Remember: Good health is a combination of many factors including your nutrition, preventative care, appropriate corrective care and the small choices you make every day in the course of living. If you have questions about this article, your general or spinal health, please ask. We are here to help!






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