New Years Eve! A time to let your hair down and blow-off any leftover steam from the year. It’s the one night you might even be pulling out those vintage dance moves. However, before you go reaching for a pair of sky-scraping heels to match that sparkling outfit, give your body some consideration.
Give your feet some credit! They do more than simple grounding.
Your feet balance the forces between your body’s weight and the earth. They actually carry up to five times your own body mass in any given moment. That’s a lot of pressure on your feet! Distributing the weight evenly by maintaining good posture is essential to your back’s health.
Think of the spine as the pillar of your body. It provides the support and balance you need to stay upright. Like your feet and joints, your spine is also designed for shock absorption. Its natural curve reduces the overall stress of your weight on your body.
Your feet are the first point of contact with the earth’s surface. They are the ignition in an important kinetic chain. As they get into action, your feet connect with muscles and joints initiating movement and propelling your body forward.
Your posture is intrinsically linked to the way you walk. This is why appropriate footwear is so important when considering the natural or ideal alignment of your body from head to toe.
It’s no secret that heels have a backbreaking reputation! Although you may feel tall and glamorous, they leave your body at unnatural angles. Heels put extra pressure on both your knees and the balls of your feet. They push the chest and back forward, causing the hips and spine to twist uncomfortably in order to maintain balance. Shifting your centre of gravity in this way is the prime cause of lower back pain in stiletto lovers.
Over time, and we’re talking minutes here, as you struggle to ‘stand tall’ your muscles become tired from the constant tension and your body will be begging to relax. Many women then tend to hunch, tilting their heads down. Remember! Your feet experience a pressure of five times your body mass, so this extra weight forward strains the already tired muscles in your shoulders further.
Of course you knew heels were bad for your back, but what do you know about flats?
The biggest problem with flat shoes is the lack of shock absorption that comes with thin, unsupportive soles. Wearing this type of footwear for prolonged lengths of time can actually lead to becoming flat-footed! The foot’s arch provides a spring in your step and helps to distribute bodyweight across the feet and legs. As your foot slams into the ground repeatedly, your heel bones take the brunt of the impact and the lack of structural support causes the arch to literally drop, altering your posture and the way you walk.
So what is ideal heel height?
Between one to three inches will provide the support you need, evenly spreading the weight on your foot. Long term, orthopaedic inner soles come highly recommended as they are specially designed for your body. For tonight, comfortable footwear will ensure a back-healthy beginning to the New Year.
Kick the New Year off to a good start. Look after your feet and your back will thank you. If you’re experiencing aches and pains, we at Brentwood Spinal Care Clinics can help. The solution to correcting your posture may be as simple as choosing the right footwear for you.