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Thread: What is the result of wearing heels and spine health?

  1. #1
    Member SirDonna's Avatar
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    What is the result of wearing heels and spine health?

    This is not about shopping, but about health. If you are having some spine issues: leg tingling, soreness in any part of leg or foot,
    has your experience been
    A- made better by wearing heels,
    B- made worse by wearing hells, or
    C- no effect.

    Just to start off, I've been seeing more leg issues, and diagnosis was stenosis, i.e., Greek for narrowing of spinal passage.

    So go to research it, and most articles just copy another so very little original. Here is a random sample:

    According to lab tests, flats cause 25% more impact pressure on your foot with every step than high heels do!
    problems can develop because heels cause a shift in the natural alignment of your spine. The normal S-curve of the spine acts as a natural shock absorber for all sorts of areas of your body, from your hips and knees to your feet and toes. When you wear high heels, your body is thrust forward, decreasing the forward curve of your lower back. This means your spine has to distribute greater forces to other areas of your body.
    The forward bending of the spine and hips causes misalignment of the spine and places excessive pressure on the knees; your calves, hips and back muscles also become tense. Excess muscle fatigue and strain accumulated from wearing heels often can also cause the calf muscles to cramp and bulge. Apart from throwing off the natural S-curve of the spine, SHI warns of anatomical changes and foraminal stenosis, a spinal nerve condition that results in shooting pain, numbness, tingling, muscle weakness, spasms, cramping and pain that radiates through the buttocks and down the leg.

    Higher heels mean more pressure on the forefoot (ball of the foot); 2 inch heels and 3 inch heels place 57 percent and 76 percent more pressure on the ball of the foot.

    The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) website explains that you don?t have to give up high-heels, but you do need to choose sensibly. Choose lower heels with wider bases. Heels that are an inch and a half or less are best. Wider, thicker heels will also spread the load placed on your foot more evenly. Stiletto-type heels provide poor support and three inches or higher can shorten your Achilles tendons.

    Blah, blah and more. Some good but much misleading.

    And then I found this:
    https://saratogaspine.com/high-heels-bad-for-your-back/
    The researchers did not find any significant difference in the individuals? spinal curvature when they were wearing high heels as compared to when they wore no shoes
    The curvature on the spine was measured in all participants in three conditions: walking bare foot, walking with a low heel (~1.5″ tall) and walking with a high heel (~4″ tall). The results of this study showed that wearing high heels decreased the curvature of the lumbar region of the spine. This is the direct opposite of the common thoughts on the subject!


    My experience is more like above, that heels help relieve leg pain. Naturally this is with opting for comfort heels, i.e., with padding, and changing height between 1 and 3 inches, with limited stillettos.

    The best advice I found was:
    Mix it up some days ? ?Every shoe has different stress points, so tease your heel height throughout the week to give each part of your feet a break,?

    So there you go. No flats or flip flops, 1 inch heels, 2 inch heels, and 3 inch heels. High then 3 inch only if limited movement in them.

    Now I can justify a bunch of heels !!!!

    Seriously, has anyone else discovered heels as an unorthodox remedy to back/leg issues, or suggestions for dealing with this health concern in dressing choices.

  2. #2
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    Hi Donna, , I know my knee doesn't bother ne while wearing Heels as with flats,

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  3. #3
    Gold Member bridget thronton's Avatar
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    I find relief from minor ankle pain when I wear modest block or wedge heels

  4. #4
    Senior Member Maid_Marion's Avatar
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    Height and weight are huge factors in whether wearing heels impacts your health. At 5' 3" 112 lbs, the stress on my legs and feet is far less than someone who is a foot taller and twice my weight!

    Back issues are quite common among all the older big and tall guys I know, and as far as I know, they have never worn heels!

    Marion

  5. #5
    Weirdest woman ever! docrobbysherry's Avatar
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    I'm 5' 9" 155 pounds and 77 years old. Hi heels r great for my back! They improve my posture and straighten my back. I can dance all nite in 4" spikes. While my back gives out in less than an hour in flats. They feel so good that I found some masculine looking booties to wear every day. Then, found out the 3 1/2" heels weren't hi enuff to give me the relief I need!

    Mind u? Hi spikes r hell on my feet and legs! It's only my back that likes them!
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  6. #6
    Silver Member giuseppina's Avatar
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    This is something that should be discussed with an orthopedic surgeon, not us, SirDonna. We're not qualified to answer your question.

    The reports above and below (if any) are anecdotal evidence. That means they are a report of one person's experience and have no scientific value.

    A properly done medical study normally uses 1000+ subjects with the data so obtained analysed with the assistance of a biomedical statistician.
    Cheers
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  7. #7
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    There are enough articles by orthopedic doctors on the internet to answer those questions. The best cautionary note I've seen on this site is the size/length of a foot will have an obvious play on wearing high heels. My foot is a size 13. Some of the more petite females in my family wear a size six. Put a five inch heel on both of us and the angle of the sole with reference to the height on a short person will be great than on me. My male shoes have a heel of 1 1/2 inches. Wearing a 3 1/2 inch women's heel poses no issues for me. I wear a 3 1/2 inch heel all day with no issues. On the other hand my five foot two wife can't wait to shed her heels...and her bra after a long day!
    Last edited by Stephanie47; 06-17-2021 at 12:22 AM. Reason: grammer

  8. #8
    Member SirDonna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by giuseppina View Post

    A properly done medical study normally uses 1000+ subjects with the data so obtained analysed with the assistance of a biomedical statistician.

    A real study would be:
    -- double blind
    -- a random pool of candidates
    -- lasting 2 to 10 years
    -- using measureable metrics and not just "how did you feel".

    Alas, those type of clinical trials are extremely rare. IF you find anything at all close, it would be extremely interesting. The quote from daily mail about percentage of weight on ball of foot is extremely suspect as they are almost enquirer source.

    I have an appt with spine doctor tomorrow and plan on posing question to him, but thought it might be good to have some real world input.

    Thanks

  9. #9
    Gold Member Crissy 107's Avatar
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    I have a good friend from another site that wears heels every day and it absolutely helps her back pain and she lets everyone know that. Yes she is a CD so this sort of gives her cover but you should hear her complain if she wears guys shoes very long.
    Sir Donna, let us know how you do at the Doctors tomorrow
    Crissy

  10. #10
    Resident Polymath MarinaTwelve200's Avatar
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    I would think it is GOOD for one's spine as it forces good upright posture and takes the stress off the lower back as well, by bending it slightly in a reverse direction.----BUT The HEELS are likely BAD for your FEET though.

  11. #11
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    I had a friend who said wearing heels, up to but no higher than 4", helped her with back pain (and she was a very large person, with big feet.)

    Wearing a corset would probably help more than wearing heels though.

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    I played hockey for over 40 years. Recreational only, you've never heard of me.But I was pretty decent skater, faster than you'd expect for someone my size. I walked the same way as I skated, with feet splayed wide apart. Eventually, it caught up with me. In my forties, I had pain in my hips and knees. I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my knees.

    Some time later, I finally found some heels that fit and learned to walk on them. It wasn't all that hard. Balancing on skates is good training. The first thing I noticed was that I had to walk with my toes pointing straight forward. In time, I noticed that my feet weren't splayed out when walking in boy shoes either. And I no longer had pain in my hips and knees. If they're bad for your feet, they're still good for walking mechanics and posture.

  13. #13
    Miss Conception Karren Hutton's Avatar
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    My spine is fine. Always has been, But I have Haglund's Deformity on both feet. Also known as pump bumps from wearing high heels and Bauer bumps from wearing my Bauer Supreme 7000s ice hockey skates and skating for the last 6 decades. Do not know which one caused the bumps but I suspect both have contributed equally.

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    Heels may indeed help back problems, but there's another common malady among those of us 50+; superficial venous insufficiency. Heels effectively shut down the pump in your calf that helps circulate blood back up from your feet. For those of us with this condition, that means wearing heels for an extended period will cause blood to pool in our feet.

    I hate this condition. It's a lot better than some people have it, which is both good and bad; I'm not a candidate for surgery to fix it period.
    Last edited by JulieC; 06-17-2021 at 06:49 PM. Reason: copyedit

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    Sunshine Gal AngelaYVR's Avatar
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    The result? Looking fabulous!

  16. #16
    Silver Member giuseppina's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SirDonna View Post
    A real study would be:
    -- double blind
    -- a random pool of candidates
    -- lasting 2 to 10 years
    -- using measureable metrics and not just "how did you feel".
    Agreed. That's generally how advances in science are made. From time to time, studies are terminated early because the data points to an obvious conclusion, both positive and negative.

    COVID vaccines were developed and tested at record speed, but there was a lot of work done in concurrently rather than serially as was the case in the past.

    Alas, those type of clinical trials are extremely rare.
    I respectfully disagree. They are the gold standard for introducing new procedures and treatments. Proof is required that a new procedure or treatment is better than the old one. If no such thing exists, the standard is better than a placebo, otherwise known as a sham treatment. Issues that are not thought to be urgent or life-and-death matters often get less attention. ...

    The quote from daily mail about percentage of weight on ball of foot is extremely suspect as they are almost enquirer source.
    I treat all reports of supposed medical advances as interesting but unproven unless the report provides data on the number of subjects. I don't want to name names, but certain publications are IMO nonsense until proven otherwise.

    I have an appt with spine doctor tomorrow and plan on posing question to him, but thought it might be good to have some real world input.

    Thanks
    Good. Licensed physicians provide the best advice that is almost always in the real world.

    A general comment about what I am seeing about comments on news sites, and not directed at any one person: Some people confuse rapidly changing and sometimes contradictory science that is characteristic of situations like the COVID pandemic with incompetence on the part of scientists, but that is a mistake. The best anyone can hope for is an educated guess, and that's all we get, whether we like it or not.

    Edit: MDs also know about relevant side effects like JulieC mentions.
    Last edited by giuseppina; 06-16-2021 at 11:02 PM.
    Cheers
    Giuseppina

  17. #17
    Member SirDonna's Avatar
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    Well the Dr said there were no good studies showing effect of heel height and spinal pain in the legs, so just use common sense and if it feels good and offers relief, go for it. If it causes issues, then avoid that option.

    Agree with others, it's a trade off between leg comfort and foot pain from bad shoes.

  18. #18
    Silver Member Devi SM's Avatar
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    Some years ago I was a sales person in a furniture store where we sell mattresses too. Many people, when buying a mattress for a child or themselves prefer a hard one to avoid spine deformation. When I would hear that elegantly I would laugh, or chuckle....and say, you spine grew up while in your mom's womb, then suddenly you were pulled out but not deformation of the spine...

    The only one suffering for long last use of high heels.are the bones of the feet that can create a "bunion" that bone, phallange of the tumb toe that's under strong pressure while walking and can be displaced out to achieve a wider base. The rest are tired muscles all.around your body as calves, lower.back, etc.

    While working there, I knew some women wearing high heels 10 hours a day for more than.25 years and didn't report a deformation or any I could see...and they look so sexy....so attractive that every month had great numbers in her check...

    This more an opinion-joke than science....

    Devi
    Last edited by char GG; 08-04-2021 at 09:10 PM. Reason: disguised word not allowed

  19. #19
    Junior Member Mackem Sue's Avatar
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    It's not so long since I posted on here my knee pain was actually less when wearing heels. I've possibly damage to the cartalige on the extreme lateral side of my right knee (fall when out jogging years ago) plus possible illiotibial band trouble too.

    I notice like another poster I don't slouch when wearing heels. I have to maintain a straight posture.

    Sue

  20. #20
    Member Sandra_Dodds's Avatar
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    I?ve had problems with my lower back muscles for about 7 or 8 years, and I?ve always refrained from giving the honest answer whenever I?m asked what do I think might be the cause - ?well doc, it was around that time I started wearing these gorgeous 10cm block heels?. I do love a good pair of high heels but have to take a more cautious approach these days.
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  21. #21
    Reality Check Krisi's Avatar
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    What I see here is someone looking for an excuse to wear women's shoes (high heels). Heels put your feet in an unnatural position and make it awkward to walk. I don't think you will find a reputable doctor who will recommend wearing heels rather than traditional shoes.
    Krisi

  22. #22
    Member Gi Gondin's Avatar
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    High heels are great for my health - my mental health, they make me happy!!!
    The higher the heel, the happier I feel. I’m not a doctor, but happiness is a great medicine to other ailments of our mind and body.
    Last edited by Gi Gondin; 08-08-2021 at 03:46 AM.

  23. #23
    Junior Member OrdinaryAverageGuy's Avatar
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    I don't know about spines, but I once did a mile on the treadmill in heels, talk about making my legs burn!

    I do notice I have better posture in heels, as many others have mentioned. Seems like that should be a good thing for the spine?

  24. #24
    Senior Member Pumped's Avatar
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    I don't know about my spine, but for decades my right knee would flare up while walking a lot and the pain was crippling. I started wearing heels often about 8 years ago and completely forgot about the bum knee. In fact we went hiking out by Colorado Springs this summer and my wife asked me how my knee was doing? At first I looked at her in confusion wondering why she would ask such a thing, then I realized I had completely forgotten about it.

  25. #25
    Senior Member NancySue's Avatar
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    My golf buddy is a wealthy podiatrist. He was once asked?to what do you attribute your wealth?he didn?t hesitate responding ?high heels?. Most of my heels are mid height and very comfortable?.I have several pairs of flats.

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