Wearing high heels shoes can create a lot of problems when it comes to walking biomechanics which could cause injuries in your feet and further up your body into your hip and lower back.
What changes high heels make?
It creates a-lot of pressure in your big toe
It will reduce the ability to get a spring in your step because there is less tension in your calf due to it being in a shortened position.
You have to step higher to clear your foot off the ground and this can cause injuries to other areas of the body. The higher the heel, the higher you have to step.
With your heel raised the knee is moving forwards so there is more loading through your quadriceps and therefore more compression across the knee.
Whereas the people who use a low heeled shoe are more likely to put the foot under their centre of mass and use the muscles around the front of your lower leg as shock absorbers.
Simply put, if you run downhill you will feel like your knee is under more pressure. Therefore, if you wear high heeled shoes you are changing the biomechanics of your walking to affectively be always walking downhill.
High heel wearers moved with shorter, more forceful strides. This movement pattern continued even when they kicked off their heels and walked barefoot.
Try it yourself:
If you go up on your toes and take a few strides. It is very difficult it is to take a full stride and engage your glutes.
But, if the foot is flat on the floor with your toes extended it is much easier to engage your glutes.
So what can we learn?
If you wear high heels for a long period of time, your calf fibres could shorten and be put under much greater strain than if you do not wear high heels.
None the less, there is a bigger problem lurking and brewing underneath when heels are worn regularly.
Slowly and gradually the disuse of the muscles at the front of your lower leg will weaken and your calf will shorten. If left too long, it will result in tightness.
Exercises and rehabilitation
Instead of just stretching the calf and forcing the ankle into a position, the aim is to strengthen the front part of your lower leg.
First, bend the knee and lift the foot up with the leg bent. This will access lots of the required muscles. Then slide the foot forward and lower the leg. Repeat and slowly slide forwards.
Bend the knee, come onto your toes so the whole calf is engaged. Then lower the heel down but as you do this increase knee flexion while the toes are raised. Do this one leg at a time and slowly move backwards.
Do 2 minutes of each of these exercises every day. This is especially important if you are doing running as an exercise.
If you would like a full functional assessment or have any pains when exercising feel free to contact the clinic today on 0578678904 or book now.
Yours in Health
The Lawlor Clinic: Spine & Sport, Portlaoise, Laois