Although it might seem like a no-win battle between style and comfort, the choice to wear high-heeled footwear is a personal one and something real that a certain set of fashionable people deal with every day. Even when they feel the adverse physical effects after an hour or so of walking in high-heeled shoes, many people will just push through the pain and not let the stress on the feet, legs, and back dissuade them from wearing their raised platforms and stilettos. Fortunately, for the many people in the world who choose to wear high heels, chiropractic care can help treat and prevent the risk of foot and ankle problems.
Although a study at the University of North Carolina determined that wearing high-heeled shoes initially strengthens the ankle muscles, it also showed that eventually this choice of footwear leads to instability and the weakening of those same muscle groups.
With most sneakers and other flat shoes, the bones and joints of the ankle and foot are properly or naturally positioned, which provides stability. On the other hand, high-heeled shoes place the feet in an unnaturally unstable position. As such, the muscles that control the ankles must stay continuously tensed and contracted to keep the wearer upright and walking. After a while, the feet and ankles adapt to the position, and the muscles that were once contracted begin to relax and cause muscle fatigue.
With the feet consistently positioned in this kind of unnatural posture, the joints, tendons, ligaments, and nerves in the ankles and feet can become compromised and begin to lose their healthy alignment. This eventually can lead to foot dysfunction, concerning pain patterns, and health complications involving the joints and muscles of the feet, knees, and even as far up as the spine.
Some common injuries related to regular high heel wearing include shortened calves, muscle fatigue, osteoarthritis, and an altered posture. Eventually more severe foot dysfunctions, such as bunions, hammer toes, and neuromas, may occur as well.
High-heeled shoes also can have a negative effect on the gait cycle because the muscles in the legs and back tend to lose their efficiency and strength when unnaturally positioned. This, in turn, increases the load and stress that the knees have to absorb and ultimately leads to injury.
Although chiropractic adjustments to the feet do not negate the dangers of wearing high heels, they substantially reduce risks and keep the feet healthy.
“We know many people prefer high heels for fashion or for representing to the world who they are,” notes Dr. Rick Gross of Quality Care Chiropractic. “However, if foot and ankle pain become a barrier to your choice of shoes, our chiropractic foot adjustments can solve that problem.”
Individuals who get their feet adjusted have a greater chance of wearing high-heeled shoes without feeling as many of the negative effects. Even patients who already have developed patterns of foot dysfunction related to style-over-comfort footwear choices will benefit greatly from chiropractic adjustments to the feet and ankles.
“We even have access to specialized high-heel orthotics that reduce the stress on your feet every time you wear your heels,” adds Dr. Gross. “The insert allows you to be more comfortable for many more hours in your favorite footwear.”
If you are suffering from ankle or foot weakness or pain associated with the wearing of high heels, contact us at Quality Care Chiropractic in Aurora, IL, at (630) 499-2225 for a consultation and to learn how we can help you lower your risk of injury or discomfort and get you back to whole-body health.Schedule an Appointment