As we get into the party season over summer, you’ll be wearing heels and thongs instead of runners. But if you find that you start to get more aches and pains, your shoe choice might be to blame.
How shoes affect posture
The way that our feet hit the ground when we move has a massive impact on the joints and muscles of the body. And that means it affects our posture.
When we wear heels, for example, our bodies tilt forward. The body tries to compensate in response, but the muscles and joints cop the strain. The weight of your body is held on the balls of your feet, instead of balanced between the balls and the heels. Your knees and hips move forward and your back flexes backward to maintain balance.
Flats might not have the height issue, but they can also impact on the body. Flat shoes cause the weight to be mostly on the heels, so the lower body tries to compensate so we don’t fall backwards. Wearing flats constantly can mean our posterior chain – including the calves, hamstrings and glutes – can weaken from lack of use.
Even thongs (or flip-flops, for non -Aussie consumers) can cause postural issues. They have been found to cause pain in the feet and even hips and lower back, due to the lack of support and altered gait (how you walk when wearing them). The real issue is that you have to grip the shoe with your toes, so they are overworked.
Pain that can occur
So if your shoes are altering the posture of your body, pain can often follow. Incorrect shoes can lead to issues including:
How to reduce it
I’m sure all myotherapists and bodyworkers would prefer everyone wear sensible shoes 24-7! But that’s easier said than done. So if you think your shoes are potentially causing issues, here’s some small tweaks to reduce the issues:
Not ready to give up your heels or cute flats? I don’t blame you! So instead, let’s work together to counteract the muscle imbalances. Pop in for a 30 minute appointment, and we can get you back to feeling good.
Mel is a Myotherapist based in Ferntree Gully. She has a special interest in chronic pain conditions, like fibromyalgia, degenerative disc disease, and more.