Guest Blogger – Natalie Fitzpatrick “The Highs & Lows of High Heels”

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The Highs & Lows of High Heels – Part 1

Ok so here is the scenario: I’m biking home from teaching an anatomy course, and close to home I see a girl waiting to cross the street. I notice she is wearing super cute platform booties, the kind of thing I notice because I love shoes just as much as the next girl. However when she puts her foot down into the road and starts crossing the street I almost fall off my bike because she, like so many girls out there, DOES NOT KNOW HOW TO WALK IN HEELS!! Her knees were bending at weird angles, her shoulders and head slumped forward, and her feet struck the ground in large loud clumps. Moral of this short story: No matter how gorgeous your shoes are, and no matter how great you look in them when you are standing looking in the mirror, if you can’t MOVE in them, you look bad. Period. It’s a major turn-off. Most guys will agree with me on this, and quite frankly a lot of guys don’t really care or even notice if you wear heels or not. So in order to impress the boys out there, and myself who happens to be a foot fitness expert, I think a little high heel education is in order.

First of all I must say that wearing high heels is not healthy. Here are some of the negative side effects:

  • Compressing the toes together trapping the nerves
  • Developing bunions
  • Damaging the knees as the body weight is shifted forward
  • Tightening of the calf muscles and stiffening of the Achilles tendon
  • Forward tilting of the pelvis. Yeah it makes your butt look great, but it compresses and tightens you lower back

This being said, it is still nice to dress up and put on a pair of heels since they can make you feel tall and sexy, and thankfully there are ways to minimize the damage done to the body.

Here are a few tips on how to minimize the impact of wearing high heels and look sexy doing so!

  • A shoe is considered a high heel when the heel is above 2 inches. The higher the heel, the greater the damage done to the body, so lower is better.
  • Tighten your kegel muscles and pull your lower abdominal muscles in as you walk, as this will help protect your back (and flatten your tummy).
  • Try to place your foot on the ground as lightly as possible to avoid a lot of banging in the toe joints… Think of Cinderella and her glass slipper!!!
  • Find a shoe with a thicker heel, as it will give your ankle more stability.
  • When you are standing, let your weight rest backwards onto your heels to relieve some pressure from the bases of the toes. Also regularly flex your feet back to give your calves and Achilles tendons a stretch so they are not constantly in a contracted position.
  • If you wear your heels to work, take them off when you are at your desk to give your feet a break.

These tips are all quite basic but can still help. However there is a lot more that can be done for foot health, high heels or not. I often teach foot fitness workshops to break down everyday wear and tear, but this January I will teach my first High Heel foot workshop. It will address specific issues pertaining to wearing high heels, and teach your how to walk properly and look sexy (thus avoiding the awkwardly-bent-knees-hunched-over-zombie-look) while minimizing the impact done to the body. It will be a fun event including Cosmos, dj and more!

Entry courtesy of Natalie Fitzpatrick, Montreal Pilates teacher, YBR certifying instructor, Foot Fitness and Body Logic practitionner. www.nfbody.com

Some stats on high heels:

In a Gallup Poll, 37 percent of the women surveyed said they would continue to wear high heels, even though they did not think them comfortable.

Women account for about 90% of the nearly 800,000 operations each year for bunions, hammertoes (a permanent deformity of the toe joint in which the toe bends up slightly and then curls downward, resting on its tip), and trapped nerves, and most of these surgeries can be linked back to their high-heeled shoe choice.


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