High Heel:

Say No to High Heels

By Dr. Ben Kim

What do toe pain, mid foot pain, heel pain, ankle pain, knee pain, hip pain, lower back pain, mid back pain, upper back pain, and headaches all have in common?

They can all be caused by wearing high heels on a regular basis.

When my wife and I walk around a mall, I almost always get an itch to go around and break the heels off of every high heel in sight. This neurosis of mine is the result of having treated numerous women over the years whose aches and pains have been directly caused by wearing high heels on a regular basis.

Each of your feet is made up of 26 major bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments, and 19 muscles and tendons. Leonardo Da Vinci was right on when he called the human foot "a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art."

Your feet are designed to provide you with balance and strength as you walk or run over many different types of terrain. Here are some more fun facts about your feet:

* Your two feet strike the ground an average of 1,800 times over the course of walking one mile.

* The average person walks around 5 miles per day, translating to 8,000 to 10,000 steps per day.

* When you walk, your feet bear the force of one and one-half times your body weight. When you run, this force increases to three to four times your body weight.

With so much demand on your feet just to get through an average day, it doesn’t take Mr. Trump’s next apprentice to realize how important it is to wear comfortable shoes. Even with super comfy running shoes on, your feet have tremendous strain on them throughout the day. Can you imagine the burden they face when your entire weight and more is crushing down on the base of your toes rather than being evenly distributed to all 26 bones of each foot?

Wearing high heels creates faulty biomechanics and unnecessary stress on your ankles, knees, pelvis, and potentially throughout your entire spine. This is because your body, from feet to head, is one long chain of gears, where the happy functioning of each gear depends on the happy functioning of every other gear. If the joints of your feet don’t work properly because of the strain of wearing high heels, you can bet your life savings that other areas of your body are forced to compensate and suffer extra wear and tear. In some cases, the compensatory changes that result from wearing heels can cause the muscles behind your neck to be stiff, putting pressure on nerves that can result in chronic headaches. As Socrates once said, "when your feet hurt, you hurt all over."

Women have approximately four times as many foot problems as men. Wearing high heels is undoubtedly a major reason for this.

Enough of the facts. Let’s get on to some suggestions on how to properly take care of your feet:

1. Strive to never wear high heels.

2. When you go shopping for shoes, do it in the afternoon or evening, as feet tend to get a little bigger throughout the day because of fluid accumulation. You want your shoes to be able to comfortably house your feet when they are at their biggest.

3. Measure your feet each time you buy shoes. And be sure to measure them while you are standing. Don’t forget to wear the thickest socks that you would normally wear.

4. Try shoes on both of your feet, as one foot may be larger than the other.

5. If you’re not already there, strive to be lean and mean for your body type. Being overweight means extra stress for your feet, not to mention the joints of your legs and spine. Have you ever felt the weight of a 10-pound bag of potatoes? This is the extra stress that your feet feel all day long if you are 10 pounds overweight.

6. Eat whole, unprocessed foods that will keep your blood vessels and circulation strong, as the health of the tissues in your feet are largely dependent on how efficiently they receive nutrients and have waste products shuttled away. The two worst foods for your circulation are hydrogenated oils and sugar. Try to stay away from them completely.

Dr. Ben KimImprove Your Health With Our Free E-mail Newsletter

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