High heels and back pain

High heels and back pain

By |2019-06-19T12:29:09+00:00February 16th, 2016|Causes of Low Back Pain, Everyday Tips, Posture Power|0 Comments

Apparently Twiggy has given up high heels – as reported in the Mirror this week.  This is no surprise, and of course the only reason it’s made the news (all be it The Mirror) is because of Twiggy’s continued popularity – at least amongst those over 50.

Giving up heels is something that – I believe – comes to all women if they live long enough.  That age varies based on how sensible they are, and how much pain they’ve attributed to the footwear.  The more pain and the more sense, the earlier they give them up.  At aged 66, Twiggy attributes a lot of her lower back pain to wearing heels, and says she cannot bear to stand in heels now without significant back pain, which takes away the fun.  But at nearly 5 feet 8 inches tall, arguably she can afford to do without them without being looked down on.

High heels are the Devil’s creation – don’t worry, I’m not becoming a “Wee Free” (reference to the fairly hardline presbyterian Free Church of Scotland attenders).  It’s just that they play absolute havoc with your postural alignment and have been linked with an increased risk of osteoarthritis of the foot, knee and hip, and with lower back pain.  And – for those who haven’t mastered the art of walking elegantly in high heels – they can also make you look ridiculous.   Personally I like the fact that women come in all shapes and sizes, especially the shorter ones… at 5 feet 9 it makes me feel taller 😉  All joking aside, most shorter women have better posture than taller women – they stand up taller to make up for their height, and taller women slouch down so that they are less noticeable as teenagers.  It’s such a shame that the shorter ones have to spoil their postures and better alignment by wearing high heels.  Embrace the shortness!

I’ve recently started wearing Vibrams at work – as commented on by many of you – “What has happened to your feet Gavin!!??”.  There is no heel raise, and your toes are free to move independently.  My feet have all ready changed shape for the better – I thought I’d do this before my own leather shoes with high heels caused me untold damage (I never wear heels higher than an inch – no Manolo Blahnik’s for me!).  I also sense that it’s improved my posture, making it easier for me to maintain knee, hip and back alignment.

Vibram footwearWhat do you think of my footwear versus Twiggy’s?  Some comments so far have been “Hobbit”, “Planet of the Apes” and “Weird”.  What do you think?  Comments always welcome!

Of course, whether it’s your footwear or anything else that’s contributed to your back pain or sciatica (or any other pain), just give us a ring…


About the Author:

Clinic Director and Osteopath. Gavin graduated as a Gold Medallist in 1991 and is now a Vice Patron of the British School of Osteopathy. Co-author of “The Back Book” with Gavin Hastings OBE in 1996, he has an MSc in The Clinical Management of Pain from the University of Edinburgh, and is currently working on a new book. He's passionate about helping to move people as far from illness and pain as possible, and in January 2015 set himself the target of helping a million people get a better back.

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