This one is mainly for the ladies, but given some of today’s men’s shoes (think Nike Air Max), guys listen up…
Lets start off by saying: Women’s legs look great in high heels, and ladies do love their heels, but from a bio-mechanical point of view, they are the devil! Apart from nasty looking toes and blisters, they are actually causing serious damage to your back, hips, knees and ankles.
Do this quick test- take off your shoes and stand sideways on to a mirror. Now go up onto your toes whilst watching yourself in the mirror. What you will notice is that your body moves FORWARD (because your centre of gravity also moves forward). To stop yourself from falling forwards, your lower back has to arch BACKWARDS (thus moving your centre of gravity back again). Net result, you are putting a lot of extra strain on your lower back…
It does’nt stop there though…Now that you are on your toes, your Achilles Tendon (and Calf muscle) is in it’s SHORTENED position, so over time, you get a shortening of this tissue and less ankle movement. As a result, you will very likely over-pronate (to try get normal ankle motion during walking) and that sets up a whole host of other problems (e.g. shin splints, knee pain, ITB etc…).
In our previous three part series on running barefoot we discussed how you should be wearing thin, flat and very mobile shoes and this also applies for your everyday shoes.
So if you have been wearing heels a long time (or even a slightly elevated heel in the case of guys shoes) and want to start helping yourself out a bit, start doing these stretches for tight calf muscles and ditch the heels.
Also, please do your kids a favour and don’t let them get into these bad habits. I strongly recommend letting your kids run barefoot around the house as often as possible.
You evolved over millions of years to have Achilles tendons that allowed your heel to rest on the ground…don’t mess with Evolution!
BY: Riccardo Vaccaro
Ankle injuries, Back injuries, Foot injuries, Knee injuries, Lower Limb injuries