If you’ve ever fallen or stumbled while wearing high heels, you understand how these shoes can throw off your center of gravity. It’s this misalignment that may be contributing to your back pain. Understanding how high heels may affect your back can provide an added incentive to take precautions while wearing this type of shoe.
Heel Elevation and Back Pain
It’s the elevation of the heel itself that affects how much pressure is exerted on parts of your spine, especially within your lower back. Heels above 1-2 inches in height tend to adversely affect balance and alignment the most.
High Heels and the Spine
Your calf, hip, and back muscles play a role in how your spine lines up. Without heels, your spine is fairly straight, calf muscles will be relaxed, and your body weight is evenly distributed. With heels, your chest and lower back are pushed forward. These two movements automatically throw your hips and spine out of alignment. Express pressure on your knees can further offset spinal alignment.
High Heels and Existing Back Pain
If you have an existing spinal condition that’s normally well managed, high heels can change that dynamic. Heels place your foot in a position that mimics walking up a ramp, placing pressure on the balls of your feet. Nerves in the legs that extend to the spine, namely the sciatic nerve, can be affected by the misalignment this motion causes, often resulting in back pain that, in serious cases, may require spinal decompression surgery or other surgical treatments.
If you’re running to the subway or shopping on your lunch break, high heels aren’t going to be able to absorb the added foot pressure. Switching shoes based on your environment can minimize strain on your back. For instance, bringing a pair of flats or comfy sneakers to work can make it easier to switch shoes as necessary to restore proper alignment.
Learn more about preserving back and spine health from The Spine Institute in Los Angeles. We are an industry leader at the forefront of groundbreaking researching and treatments. Give us a call at (310) 828-7757 and schedule an in-person consultation today.