Red carpet events and runway fashion shows are the designers dream come to life. For the fashion savvy, we watch in awe and try to duplicate the styles into our lives. One accessory, without fail, that arrives each season is the undeniably loved high heel.
We love to wear them, and even convince ourselves that they are comfortable. But we forget that our feet are not the only area of our body that we are compromising for the sake of fashion.
The Cost of Fashion
The truth of the fashion industry is that it caters to a world that does not exist. Who would willingly walk out onto the street wearing a hat in the shape of a peacock and eight-inch heels, besides the lovely ladies in Sex in the City? Even many of those toned-down items that make it into the high street stores are not suitable for everyday wear. All it takes to cause an injury, and potentially long-term problems are to venture out on the town too many times in high heels with a heavy bag slung over one shoulder. The legs, the back, the shoulders, the spine, and the neck, can all suffer in your pursuit of fashion.
The Pretty Pumps
High heels are the worst culprits in the line-up because they so badly alter a person’s natural balance, throwing all sorts of stresses and strains in vulnerable parts of the body. The dynamic equilibrium enjoyed by a well-balanced body is ruined by high heels, and unnatural compensations take place in the body, with new movements, alignments, and restrictions.
In a nutshell, high heels increase the normal forward curve of the spine and also tip the pelvis forward. The body’s center of gravity shifts as a result. Standing barefoot allows a person to be perfectly balanced, as nature intended, with the hamstrings supporting the pelvis as they should. High heels, on the other hand, encourage the hamstrings to shorten.
Other Fashion Victim Accessories
Next on the fashion runway of pain are clothes that are too tight. When the bodies movement is restricted and or changed, the body has to compensate.
Following not far behind in the guilty line-up is heavy bags, purses, backpacks or briefcases, and the people who load into them far too much stuff. A bag that weighs more than 10% of your body weight causes the body to become imbalanced, especially when it is carried over one shoulder or in one hand because the natural tendency is to lift up the carrying shoulder and lean the body to the opposite side to compensate. The legs and arms then become less coordinated and the spine curves towards the weight-bearing shoulder.
Men’s Fashion Faux Pas
Less dangerous is the practice of carrying a hefty wallet in your back pockets. Less hazardous perhaps, but more insidious in the fact that many people will not even give it a second thought. However, this can cause discomfort over a day, especially if you are sitting on it for part of the time because the muscle will be dented by the item, causing pain.
It may be hard, but you need to forgo certain trends for the sake of your health, where those fashions are detrimental to your health. Keep in mind the following when choosing clothes, shoes and accessories.
1. Choose comfortable shoes. If you want to wear high heels at work, and you walk to work, take the heels in a bag and walk in more comfortable flat shoes instead. Simply if a shoe feels uncomfortable when merely standing, walking in it will be infinitely worse.
2. Choose supportive shoes that have sufficient cushioning to make walking comfortable.
3. Whatever shoes you are wearing, take regular breaks from sitting to stretch out the hamstrings.
4. Don’t wear clothes so tight that they restrict your physical movements. Suit your clothes to the activities you are partaking in that day.
5. Select a bag that allows you to carry it distributed evenly on your body, rather than over one shoulder. The strap should, therefore, be padded and long enough to place over the head. If the bag is on one shoulder or in one hand, swap it frequently from one side to the other to share the burden.
6. Remove any unnecessary items from your bag to make it lighter.
7. Remove your wallet from your back pocket when sitting or driving for any length of time.
Remember that you can be stylish and healthy at the same time. Protect your health is actually the most “EnVogue” thing you can do.
For Your Health,
Dr. Susan Friedman