Women everywhere love high heels. Some swear they could run a mile in them, even when they’re 5 inch stilettos.
The aesthetic effect of high heels is too attractive for many to refuse. They not only offer women a more powerful presence by increasing their height, they demand that those who wear them model better posture.
At least, that’s what I’m told by women. Having never worn high heels, I can’t speak to their effect on my back. But do high heels cause low back pain in the women who love and wear them? That’s another question.
An article of faith.
The conventional line of thinking on high heels is that they do, indeed, cause low back pain. But when you dig a little deeper, it’s difficult to find any hard evidence to support the claim.
And yet there are voluminous online accounts claiming that high heels are low back-inducing torture devices which will eventually see the women who wear them clutching the smalls of the backs in agony.
But is the internet really a reliable source of information? Sometimes, it is. That’s why I write this blog – to offer readers information that’s based on research and not the claims of popular “wisdom”. Too often those are the claims most widely believed, without evidentiary support.
Let’s examine the findings of a 2010 study and see how this article of faith stands up.
An unsupported claim.
Published in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, the study was conducted by a Doctor of Chiropractic and examined available medical literature on the subject. Following standards of academic analysis and review, the study’s author concluded that there was no causal link between high heels and low back pain.
Low back pain and wearing high heels are two ubiquitous realities. We all know people who suffer from low back pain, and/or wear high heels. It’s the common nature of these two realities that makes it difficult to identify high heels as the source of low back pain.
While that’s true, it may be said that high heels can make matters worse, if there’s an anomaly or dysfunction in the lumbar vertebrae. But an increased curvature inducing pain is not caused by high heels, according to all existing literature.
There’s no question that high heels change the posture of women who wear them. Wearing them for long periods of time may, as stated above, exacerbate existing conditions. This may also lead to stress on the feet, buttocks, calves and quadriceps which may lead to alignment problems.
Clearly, there are some issues associated with wearing high heels women should be aware of. Conditions of the spine demand that you listen to your body and alter your heel height accordingly. It’s also wise to use cushioned inserts and choose footwear that offers your arch the support it needs.
Do high heels cause low back pain? Apparently not. All the same, balance (as in all things) is counseled, as well a keen awareness of how your body feels. Need to know more? Contact us.