Did you know that shorter women have (traditionally) higher incidence of osteoporosis? The reason is, basically, the wearing of high heeled shoes.

Heeled shoes, even small ones, pitch the weight of the body forward over the balls of the feet, and the pelvis comes with it. The ball of the foot isn’t designed to bear your body weight and it changes the angle of the joints in your knees, hips and spine, while the muscles in the back of your body become weak and atrophied. That’s your calves, hamstrings and glutes – some of the largest and strongest muscles in your body. At the same time the muscles in the front of the body – the quadriceps – are overworked.

This mis-alignment creates friction in the joints (and pain) which leads to wear and tear and bone loss.

The smaller foot of a short woman has a lot to do with it the amount of friction even modest positive heeled shoes creates, but it is a bit of a smoke screen. Tall women, especially if they wear an equivalent lever for pitching the weight forward are also weakening and wearing out the bones in their spines and hips. It’s just that in the past tall women didn’t wear high heels as much.

As a short woman I was never a big heel wearer (maybe because I did yoga and dance when I was younger) because I found them too uncomfortable. But I did wear low heels and believed when I was told that we needed support for our feet and some sort of heel was necessary. Even though I’ve been wearing flat (barefoot shoes) exclusively for several years, my muscles are still relearning their true, natural length and strength but my body is so much healthier and happier and the aches and pains I associated with aging have disappeared.

The body is amazingly resilient and it can recover from years of mis-alignment. It does require putting health ahead of vanity and fashion. Are you up for the challenge of ditching the heels once and for all?




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