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High-Heel

Doctors and spine specialists decode what this means.

“Deepika’s sneaker-dance is the sensible fashion moment of 2018. Stilettos affect your body more than just causing sore feet. The pain that you feel in your feet can travel way up to your knees, hips, back, and neck, which means your entire spine gets affected. If you already have back pain, it can worsen. We see many such cases especially, during festive and holiday season,” shares Dr Neha Narula, Senior Spine Specialist, QI Spine Clinic.

It’s not just Deepika, but everyone, from Sonam Kapoor to Kangana Ranaut to Swara Bhaskar, has been spotted time and again pairing their traditional and western outfits with shoes.

Thankfully, for your back, it just might be the noted fashion trend of 2018; and hopefully will spill over into 2019.

Here’s why:

Have mercy on your poor little toe

High heels place much more pressure on your toes than you can imagine. “Your upper back, chest, neck, and head lean forward while your middle back turns backward in an attempt to manage this pressure and uneven distribution of the body weight,” said Dr Gautam Shetty, a senior orthopaedic surgeon.

He further stated, “Added pressure gets built up on your knees, calf muscles and back. At the end of the day this can cause excessive muscle fatigue and strain.”

Therefore, avoid wearing high heels for a prolonged period.

Body balance must win over fashion

According to a 2017 study, published in the Journal of Novel Physiotherapies, body balance, trunk stability, muscles activation of ankle and knee, muscle activation of cervical and lumbar spine, body weight distribution and walking speed are all affected by wearing high heeled shoes.

Whatever the diktats of fashion, walking is not about risking your mechanical balance and inviting injury and strain on your back.

More the heel height, more the trouble

Do not compromise the balance and stability of your body by giving into fashion. Make sure that maximum height of your heels isn’t exceeding beyond two inches.

Choose platform heels if the height exceeds three inches. Worldwide research suggests that the height of your heels determines the weight and level of pressure carried by your forefoot (ball of the foot).

As per the Spine Health Institute statistics:

  • 1-inch heel equals to 22 percent body weight on the forefoot.
  • 2-inch heel equals to 57 percent body weight on the forefoot.
  • 3-inch heel equals to 76 percent body weight on the forefoot.

 Buy your heels at the right time

The best time to buy your heels is in the afternoon. “Our feet expand during the day due to continuous walking and standing. They are at their largest in the afternoon, which makes it easier to buy the correct size of that pair of stilettos that you have liked. It is key to buy the correct size to minimize the side effects of extended use of high heels,” says senior spine specialist, Dr Garima Anandani.

Select heels with round and broader toe box

Opt for shoes with round toe box. The narrower or pointy the toe box, the more the pressure on the toes. Over time, narrowed toe box can compress and deform the natural shape of your toes. Prolonged use can even restrict blood flow in that area and lead to swelling. Prefer wedges and platforms over stilettos as they mostly offer rounder toe boxes.

Check shoe cushioning, slope, and heel thickness

Select high heels with cushioned fore-feet and insoles as they prevent feet from slipping.

Choose thicker heels as they are better than spiky heels. Go for gradual or lower slopes like platform and wedges instead of stilettos as they help maintain balance and doesn’t compromise stability.

Buy a variety of shoes, and vary your footwear day to day so to prevent wearing heels every day.

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