Musicians' Health Collective

Musicians' Health Collective: Supporting the health of musicians

5 Times to Not Wear High Heels

In the blogosphere, people are complaining about the new Jurassic Park movie for many good reasons, and since I haven't seen the movie, I can't attest to its quality.  Aside from typical movie critique of a sequel (3rd sequel, really), one of the big issues is that Bryce Dallas Howard wears high heels throughout the whole film. I can confidently say that wearing high heels while dealing with run amuck dinosaurs is probably not a great idea if you're planning on surviving the day, let alone avoiding back pain and pelvic floor issues. Fortunately, most of us aren't being chased by dinosaurs.  Unfortunately, most women still wear high heels on a regular basis.  Here are my 5 least practical times to wear high heels:

1. The Airport-I'm always amazed at how many flight attendants wear high heels, especially since they're constantly waking.  Many women wear high heels to fly in, which is bizarre to me since terminals are often spread out, you may need to walk quickly to make a connection, and some people deal with swollen ankles and feet from fluid buildup (gravitational oedema).  Also, when sitting in high heels, your calf muscles shorten big time, which over time, can affect your pelvis and spine, amongst over things.

2. In the snow- I don't know who designed the high heeled snow boot, but it seems like a terrible idea.  I've seen many a lady twist an ankle or fall on ice, which seems like a solid reason not to wear high boots. 

3. When pregnant- I'm not sure why women do this when their bodies are changing so much in a short period of time,  leaving them extra susceptible to back issues, hip pain, and ankle swelling.  During pregnancy, your center of gravity also changes, meaning that you will walk differently, stand differently, and adding a heel to offset things is not a great idea, especially when tripping and falling is so dangerous.  In addition, a hormone called relaxin makes the ligaments in the body looser and potential unstable in order to permit childbirth.  Yet, adding a heel could create unusual vertebral patterns, pelvic tendencies, or knee hyperextension which might not normally occur. 

4.  When performing standing up- I'm not sure why folks wear heels under dresses where you can't see the feet, but go figure.  Many soloists wear seriously high heels while performing, which not only shifts the center of gravity forward but also demands that the knees either bend a lot or lock out.  The pelvis is then tucked, creating a c curve or kyphosis in the spine, which not only limits shoulder and spine movement, but also diminishes the diaphraghm's capacity to expand fully.  None of this sounds good if you're nervous and trying to play your best under pressure!

5.  When running from hungry dinosaurs-I know Buffy managed to kick vampire butt in high heels, but any walking or running demands a better shoe.  Not only are ankle and foot musculature weakened over time, but the whole body starts to change in response to high heels.A recent study suggested that running in heels is in fact a poor decision, and that virtually any other shoe would be better.  

"When attempting to run from a fast-moving, deadly animal,” Dr. Cronin said, “high heels are perhaps the worst choice of footwear possible. Running shoes would get my vote.”

So there you have it- 5 times to definitely skip the high heels.