Armstrong Podiatry & Sports Health's Blog

Information that promotes wellness

The unhealthy “lift”


 In my previous blog post, I talked about the destructive process of shoegear and its resultant changes on our bodies.  Three major methods that shoegear causes these changes were identified:  elevated heel, toe spring and narrow toe box/curved last.  This installment will focus on the elevated heel.

     Many people have heard that high-heeled shoes are not “healthy” to wear.  But the question really is, “How high is too high?”; “One inch?  Two inches?  Four inches?”  My contention is that any height is not healthy.  Any shoe with an elevated heel (which is, in fact, ALL shoes) will cause increased forefoot pressure, joint changes, muscular tightness, knee and lower back changes.

Even casual shoes has a heel lift!

      Take a close look at any of your outdoor shoes.  The heel is always higher than the forefoot no matter which shoe, i.e., sneakers, casual shoes, dress shoes.  Now look at your bare feet from the side.  It certainly appears that there is ground contact on the ball of the feet and the heels.  Now go up on the balls of your feet and you have virtually eliminated the pressure on the heels and increased the forefoot pressure.  This is what high-heeled shoes can do and it has multiple consequences to the feet.  It exposes the joints (capsules) and nerves around the ball of the feet to increased trauma, leading to increased inflammation (capsulitis and neuritis); it causes tendons in the toes to tighten, leading to hammertoes; and it reduces the usage of the calf muscles, causing shortened, tight calf muscles.

All the pressure shifted to the forefoot!

     The changes from high-heeled shoes can continue further up the body also.  Due to the lack of movement of the calf muscle, the knee and hip must work harder to lift the leg off the ground while walking.  This can lead to not only increased knee pressure, but overuse of the hip muscles which are prone to tightness.   Finally, as an attempt to maintain balance, a shoe-wearing individual must attain a curved lower back posture, which can lead to lower back problems. 

What a difference some heels make!

      All these changes throughout the body occur over time with usage of shoegear.  This gradual process, I believe, can be directly linked to why the elderly today suffer from disfigured toes, calluses and back and knee pain.

      Unfortunately, this is not the end of what shoegear can and has done to our bodies (Yes, there is more!).  The next blog post will explore the destructive feature of the toe spring in shoes. 

     Happiness and good health!

January 21, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. […] In this third installment of this continuing blog series about shoegear (read the first and second installments), another unnatural characteristic of shoegear will be examined-the toe spring.  […]

    Pingback by “Springing” away from foot health « Armstrong Podiatry & Sports Health's Blog | February 16, 2011 | Reply

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