Hell over heels
Last Updated: Tuesday, October 02, 2012, 21:25
  

Ritu Singh

Imagine yourself in a knock-out black outfit. Your make-up and hair are all done. Still, something seems amiss! You look around and slip into those perfect high heels to complete the pretty picture. Now, tall and confident, you strut around in those 6 inches, and your walk gets a new swish and spice. You start feeling oh-so-sexy and those extra inches just compliment your style statement and find a permanent place in your wardrobe. While reading this also, your mind must be racing towards all your assorted possessions. Okay ladies, now stop reading and smiling, and follow my advice. Throw away all your heels. Yes, you heard me right!

Without pain, comes no gain. True that, and beauty of course demands a dangerous price in this case. Heels and pain are two sides of the same coin. According to some researchers, wearing high heels is even worse than smoking. This statement depicts the extent to which those high heels can harm the person wearing them. But, in this era of fashion and glamour, statements like these take a backseat. Surprisingly most women are not even aware of the menacing consequences that the repeated use of certain footwear can bring about.

In this age of science and technology, we have become more aware of our bodies than ever before. What to eat, what to drink, how to exercise, what to avoid and a plethora of other do’s and don’ts rule our lives. But amid this, we often ignore an important aspect –foot care – and thus jeopardise our health, thanks to ignorance.


Wearing high heels for a considerable amount of time can result in real long term health consequences. Once we put on high heeled shoes, we push our forefoot to tremendous pressure because it has to carry the entire body weight, thereby causing the rest of the body to adjust, in order to maintain a balance. Now, the bottom half of the body leans forward and hence the top half must lean back, causing disruption of the normal ‘S’ curve of the back, flattening the lower spine and pacing the mid-back and neck. The natural alignment of the spine is displaced, causing pain, tingling and numbness. Also, maintaining the correct upright posture in such a case is difficult, often giving way to a stooped look, which definitely doesn’t add any oomph. Besides that, the way of walking may seem weird and uncomfortable.

Women, who wear heels every day, have feet constantly in a flexed, toes-pointed position, which places a lot of stress on the body. They take shorter, more forced and uncomfortable steps and the fibres in their calf muscles shorten gradually. It is difficult for some women to walk in high heels and walking long distances in them is just plain painful. Difficulty in walking may also increase chances of losing balance, tripping and falling while walking.


The hip flexor muscles, which are located on the upper front part of the thighs, are forced to work much harder and longer to help you walk because the feet are held in a downward position and have reduced power to move the body forward. In such a case, if these muscles are overused, in no time a contracture can happen because of their shortening. The risk of developing osteoarthritis in the knee also increases because of high heels. Toe pain, mid foot pain, heel pain, ankle pain, knee pain, hip pain, lower back pain, mid back pain, upper back pain, and headaches can occur if those heels are worn on a regular basis. Wearing heels can cause muscles behind the back to turn stiff, which, in turn exerts pressure on nerves, the outcome of which can be chronic headaches.


Women commonly sacrifice comfort for style and fashion, and wearing heels boosts their self esteem. But the long term damage to their bodies can’t be ignored. Hence, it’s sensible to pick up the right shoe for your feet and let them breathe in comfort and not strangle it unnecessarily. However, you can reserve them for some chosen special occasion. But do make sure that you adopt a proper stretching technique if you intend being few inches taller than what your genes and Nature have intended. So, be alert, choose wisely, and walk in comfort. And always remember, you are beautiful no matter what!


First Published: Tuesday, September 25, 2012, 21:07



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