Tis the season for holiday gatherings! Are you one who loves to round out your look with a cute set of pumps? This holiday season, I'm encouraging you to go flat!
Sure, that perfect set of high heels or boots with just the right lift are super cute and make our legs look outstanding. But there is a price to be paid when we wear them, and it's not just the temporary discomfort.
Our joints thrive off of cyclical loading, but in heels that just doesn't happen and can lead to degenerative changes in the knee joint (and then some...). Let's take the knee joint for example. When we walk, our typical gait pattern is to fully extend our knee, hit our heel, roll to our toe and push off. Pumps change up how we walk in several ways. First, we can't heel strike first since heels make us load upwards of 75% of our weight through the forefoot, so we tend to strike forefoot first, which means our knees also aren't fully extended when the foot hits the ground. To compensate for this change, you then have to lean your upper body back to maintain balance which flattens our your lumbar spine.
One study noted it took an average of 1 hour for a woman's feet to start hurting in her high heels. But this temporary pain was just the beginning. Frequent wearing of high heels has been shown to lead to very high instances of knee osteoarthritis, low back pain, shortened achilles tendons, plantar fasciitis and foot deformities including bunions. Our healthy feet and knees are vital in keeping us active and moving!
If you just can't stand the thought of going without your cute pumps this holiday season, here are a few tips to try and make the impact less:
1) stretch your calves before and after wearing
2) limit the amount of time you're in high heels as well as distance walked
3) try to avoid pointed toes
4) try to set your height limit to 2 inches or less