Are High Heels the REAL New Smoking?

I've just finished reading Every Woman's Guide to Foot Pain Relief by Katy Bowman.  I didn't pick this book because I have foot pain, although I do have a bit. This author was recommended by Dr. Christiane Northrup, a holistic GYN and prolific author.

You may be asking why a GYN would be discussing foot pain. Because we are not just a collection of organs which all function independently. No, we are physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual beings. All our systems are interwoven and function as a single whole. Our diet affects our organs, bones, muscles, brains, moods, immunity, and much more. And our foot bone is connected to all the other bones in our body.

Katy Bowen's book about foot pain is not just about the feet. The feet form the foundation of our physical structure. How we use our feet, how we stand, how we walk, the shoes we wear, all of this translates into the posture (placement and use) of not just our feet, but our ankles, knees, legs, hips, low back, spine, neck and head.

When we wear high heels, or any heel at all, our center of gravity is shifted forward. Instead of the weight being centered over the heels, where it belongs, our weight is pushed over the balls of the feet. This places excess pressure on the smaller bones and more delicate structures of the forefoot instead of the bony heel. The excess pressure creates all kinds of problems for the feet, including pain, but not just for the feet.

Every joint from the ankles through the knees, the hips, the low back, and even the head and neck need to compensate for this forward shift of weight. Because all of these joints are no longer aligned vertically (as the human body is designed to function) gravity is exerting undue pressure on the joints at an angle where they become vulnerable to misuse injuries, strain, excess tension, muscle cramping, even tears. Because we are no longer loading the joints vertically, these joints are no longer weight-bearing which means they do not receive the signals which cause the bones to rebuild as they break down. Thus osteoporosis sets in. This is just one of many diseases and malfunctions that can occur with this chronic misplacement.

What are the ideal shoes? Bare feet! Ideally, we should be walking barefoot as much as possible. But whenever this is not possible, the best shoes have a thin, flexible sole so that we can feel the changes in the surfaces beneath our feet. Absolutely no heel is best, or a negative heel that shifts the weight back, instead of forward. The tops of our shoes should hold the shoe firmly on the foot, so our toes do not need to curl to hold the shoe on. (No flip flops, mules, or clogs.) And a wide enough toe box so that the toes can spread apart. It is also vital that your shoes fit properly. Many women wear shoes that are at least a size too small in order to make their feet look smaller!

Check your closet and see how many pairs of shoes you own which fit the bill. If you are spending many hours per day on your feet, now is the time to make a better choice in footwear. Before you begin to suffer from the effects of tight shoes, high heels, or flip flops.

It might be time for some shoe shopping! You're welcome!!!