High heels. Can't live with 'em, but don't reeeally want to live without 'em.
Why do we wear these things that cause us so much pain? If I had a nickel for every time a guy asked me that, I'd be... well, not rich, but I'd have like 20 dollars. Yeah, they hurt, but have you seen how good my butt looks right now?
When I wear heels, I'm the grit-my-teeth-and-bear-it type. I figure I elected to put myself through this much pain; might as well deal with it, and not force everyone around me to suffer through my complaining. And there's something so elegant about suffering in silence, isn't there? Maybe that's why high heels never go out of style; you hurt, yes, but you look classy as hell doing so.
The thing is, I wonder sometimes what all that extra stress does to my feet and legs. Because usually, when you're in pain, it's you body trying to tell you that something is not right. Turns out after doing a little research, the jury is still out on whether heels actually cause longterm damage (one study even suggested they help prevent it).
But here are some reasons that wearing heels might not be the greatest thing for your feet, legs, and back:
+ Rather than using your entire foot to support your body weight, your entire mass is shifted onto the balls of your feet and your toes.
+ Your feet are designed to be incredible natural shock absorbers, but slip on a pair of 4 inch stilettos and suddenly you've raised the pressure on the front of the foot by 30% or more.
+ You know how you need to strut in order to walk properly in heels? This short, abrupt stride can lead to bone and nerve damage, as well as blisters and ingrown toenails. Yuck.
+ Wearing heels restricts circulation in your lower legs, which could lead to spider veins over time.
+ Long-term heel devotees can also develop chronic tightness in their ankle and calf tendons, which makes it painful to walk, even in flats.
+ And what about your knees? Heels increase the wear and tear on these natural shock absorbers, and over time, some have suggested that this kind of sustained damage can lead to osteoarthritis. (But this might not be true; as I said above, the jury is still out.)
+ Heels also place unnecessary stress on your hips and lower back, leading to soreness the next day.
Now, at this point, you might be saying:
"But Alli, I look so good in heels! They make my legs and butt look incredible, and don't even get me started on the wonders they do for my figure. What can I do??"
Don't fret, I'm not giving up my heels either. They look too damn good! But we can wear our beloved heels while still being smart about not stressing our bodies too much. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
+ Wear heels for only a few hours at a time – just for a special night out, or a formal event. Switch to flats or sneakers whenever possible.
+ Wear comfortable shoes on your commute, then switch to heels when you get to the office.
+ Wear heels a maximum of 2 or 3 times per week to avoid placing too much stress on your legs.