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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

High Heels Shoes: A Fashion Accessory with Biomechanical Implications



High Heel Shoes have been loved and maligned for years. A True Love Hate Affair. From a Podiatrist's perspective, these wonders of the fashion world  have many interesting biomechanical aspects. The video above points to the pros and cons of wearing high heel shoes. The possible positive benefits include:
  1. Greater Arch Support over Flats
  2. Better Forward Shift of Body Weights over Flats
  3. A More Relaxed Hamstring, with Less Lower Back Tension
  4. With regular use, Foot, Ankle, Knee, and Hip Strengthening
  5. Heel Lift producing less strain on Achilles Tendon
But, these are weighed down by the possible negative effects including:
  1. Toe box crowding with gradual development of bunions and hammertoes
  2. Ankle and Knee in more unstable positions
  3. Positional Changes in the Low Back which may produce or aggravate symptoms
  4. Gradual shortening of the ankle tendon, and hamstrings with possible symptoms

Four very common recommendations for regular high heel wears include: A) stretch the Achilles 3 times daily, B) stretch the hamstrings once daily, C) vary the heel height several times a day, with the lower or high heeled shoe having more toe box (yes, switch shoes--possibly a chance to shop!!), and D) use bunion protection with medium gel toe separators and Yoga Toes (or knockoffs)--see the separate post on Tips for Bunion Care and other related posts. I hope these simple, but effective,tips can allow you to wear high heel shoes for many years to come.

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Thank you very much for leaving a comment. Due to my time restraints, some comments may not be answered.I will answer questions that I feel will help the community as a whole.. I can only answer medical questions in a general form. No specific answers can be given. Please consult a podiatrist, therapist, orthopedist, or sports medicine physician in your area for specific questions.