Pump It Up?
Flats or Heels, That Is the Question
By D. A. Phillips
As women we always strive to look our best and a beautiful high heeled shoe accentuates that look. But sometimes wearing a high heel feels as if one is climbing a mountain with each step -and the higher the heel- the greater the climb. But is wearing a high heel shoe medically safe and comfortable? Doctors have debated this question for a long time.
Meaning no disrespect to my high heel wearing sisters, I think high heels are great. They make shorter legs look longer and calves seem shapelier. High heels command attention and respect when they enter a room and boost the confidence of the wearer. Being able to walk, run and dance in a high heel is an accomplishment worthy of an Olympic gold medal – only the strong survive.
In an online article in footwear news, Dr. Casey Kerrigan, founder of OESH Footware, explains “High heels increase joint torques/moments/pressures that are associated with the development of knee osteoarthritis.” And Sports Chiropractor Mel Davis from Back 2 Balance chiropractic clinic says, “Heels can cause problems because they force your foot forward, altering the angle of your body so your weight isn’t evenly distributed over the foot and therefore the spine, which can trigger pain from your knees all the way up to your back.” And for most women, shoes over 2-3 inches can become very uncomfortable after extended wear; to say nothing of the corns and callouses the enclosed pointed shoes may cause.
A flatter or lower heeled shoe can bring more comfort to a foot because the heel is lower and helps in balancing the body and when used in conjunction with a good orthotic offers comfort and improved posture. But are women willing to sacrifice posh for comfort? A flat shoe walking into a room does not always yield the same response from the crowd as does a pair of 6 inch heels.
All is not completely lost, in an October 2018 article in Health.com, women can preserve the health and comfort of their feet and still look like a million in a pair of heels. Shoe designers are now incorporating materials that give comfort and are health focused while still offering the styles women want in a shoe. The article includes a list of stylish shoes that bring comfort and a healthier fit to the high heel wearer. (https://www.health.com/style/comfortable-high-heels)
As for this shoe maven, once upon a century ago, I dabbled in the arena of high heel wearing until a stiletto, caught in worn carpet, sent me falling down a long staircase. (I have been eternally grateful to the young man who was walking down the steps ahead of me, his presence broke my fall (much to his surprise) as I was able to use him to stop my descent.) This incident (and age) has cut short my heel wearing days. The highest heel that will slip onto this foot will be no more than 2 inches.
Each high heel or low heel wearer must decide what shoe they can wear safely and comfortably. At the end of the day, we only have 2 feet and they have to carry us for a very long time.
I have made my choice. Others must make theirs. I have heard in some cities, there are high heel wearing classes for women of all ages. To these I say, “Pump it up!”