Ladies Put Your Best Foot Forward but Preferably not in High Heels!
The bio-mechanical effect of heels in everything from running shoes to stilettos, has puzzled researchers and fired controversy for nearly a century. It’s no secret that high heels are bad news for the feet. Research published in Arthritis Care & Research revealed that nearly 64% of women reporting foot and ankle pain wore high heels regularly.
According to Dr. Suzanne Levine a New York city surgeon “Wearing heels greater than two inches puts about three times the body weight entirely on the ball of the foot”
Heel Wedge Angle and Ball Walking
The term researchers use to describe the slope or slant of of the heel from front to rear, is the heel wedge angle. A higher heel means a greater angle. Bio-mechanically, when wearing a low heeled shoe the heel assumes about 40% of one’s body weight, and the ball takes on the other 60%. The simple act of switching to a high heeled shoe drastically changes the distribution of body weight. In high heels, the ball of the foot bears about 90% of one’s body weight whereas the heel assumes a meager 10%.
The sequence of normal walking goes heel, to ball, to toe, to push off. Once heels are elevated three or more inches,, they carry very little weight, forcing the ball of the foot to bear the bulk of the burden during the push off phase of walking.
Propulsive Power Thief
Many women love to wear high heels and many men like the way women look when they wear them. Rather than suffer for vanity women should be cautious about wearing high heels constantly or for long periods of time. Heels place the foot and leg under greater stress to achieve the demands of propulsion (fig. 9) the borrowed power must be absorbed by other structures higher up the chain including knees, thigh muscles, hips and trunk. Heels of any height set in motion a series of negative consequences making natural gait impossible.
Ladies, wear high-heals if you must - in the board room, for business, for that special evening out. But try to have a pair of comfortable shoes that you can slip into as much as possible to take the strain off of your foot and get regular maintenance work on your lower extremities to restore alignment.