Really? Women’s High Heels Do Not Cause Low Back Pain

High Heels Cause Lower Back Pain

Are These High Heels to Big For Me?

I came across a very interesting article today asking the question “Does wearing high heels like stilettos cause lower back pain?”

I know, what your probably thinking, yes of course the height of a women’s high heel shoe must cause her back pain. Doesn’t everyone know that? Well that is the common perception from most I would say, but, can we say that is true? Apparently our collective common sense could be wrong in this case. That’s why in today’s post I wanted to look a bit more into the question “will walking in high heels cause lower back pain” and just for fun teach you women, or maybe men, how to walk properly in high-heeled shoes. Oh by the way, I think I have found a picture of the highest heels in the world that you can buy and from here in the UK, wow!

Video on Teaching How to Walk In High Heels Correctly

I guess the first thing in trying to solve the ultimate question linking heel height to back pain is asking “can women walk properly in high heels in the first place”.

Maybe if a women walks incorrectly in her new shoes then that is why she may suffering. Asking herself if “what is a trapped nerve feeling?” and if this is causing her feet aches and pain, ankle weakness and pain, sciatica leg pain or the lower back pain.

In the following video, that I found for you, you can watch recommendations on how a woman should walk properly in a high heel shoes in order to avoid pain in her body, discomfort, and ultimately, a social scene embarrassment.

The first walking in high heel techniques are classics to watch. I’m sure you have seen these kind of ladies like at a local night club, pub or moving around the office. I guess this kind of walking technique is for short high heels or even very high heels like a stiletto heel.

Overall, it looks like some good advice tips women can give to other women wanting to learn how to walk confidently in a pair of posh high heels are:

  1. Posture – Chest up, tummy in, bum out slightly (like core muscle activation).
  2. Relax your Hips and Knees slightly – apparently helps you glide.
  3. Use the Ball of Your Foot – Avoid heel strike and toes first.
  4. Feet Closer Together – Don’t walk with a wide stance like with trainers or gym shoes.

Looks simple, I’m pretty sure it is not.

If you have any better tips let me know in the comments section below. However, back to answering the question around lower back pain related to wearing high-heeled shoes.

Will You Get Low Back Pain From High Heels?

Claire Young a contestant from the UK TV show “The Apprentice” in 2008 hit the newspaper headlines about her back pain episode and her frequent use of high heel shoes.

The hypothesis is the reason for the start of back pain is a pair of high heels cause a woman to arch her lower back more. This means she has what is medically termed an increased lumbar lordosis curve in her lower back spine.

This increase in lumbar lordosis can also make the pelvis to tilt forward to compensate. The increase in the lower back curve is then thought to cause additional, abnormal compression of the spinal joints and creating fatigue on the core muscle group, which help to stabilise our spines.

However, a recent research review concluded that women wearing high heels do not tend to arch their backs more because of the shoes. You can read the full research study below:

Download (PDF, 349KB)

This means when we all thought that high heel shoes cause a woman to increase the arch in her lower back in order to compensate for the height of the heel that we could all be wrong.

Maybe it is that a woman has to contract harder or tighten her bum muscles (a.k. gluteals) even more, which then makes it look like she has an increased lumbar spine lordosis.

The Effect on Other Parts of Her Body

Talking about back pain we mustn’t forget the rest of a women’s body.

So far not many studies have been done to look at what the effects of wearing high heels has short-term and long-term on the feet, ankles, knees and hip joints.

Long-term usage of high heels with tight toe boxes in the front, for me, is a very noticeable change with the formation of a bunion on the big toe. I see this commonly in my older lady patients, but increasingly in late 30 to early 40-year olds. It is most likely from pushing the toes into a pair of tight shoes, which is what pretty high heels tend to be. If the first metaphalangeal joint of the big toe starts degenerating (bunion) then that would affect the movement quality of the general leg.

The Bottom Line

Highest Heels In The World

The Highest Heels in the World

This means for women that the next time you are told to stop wearing high heels because it is bad for your health, I guess just let the person know that everything in moderation is fine, including style. Enjoy those new beautiful high heels 🙂

P.S. This picture is apparently of the Highest Heels In the World available to buy from the company called Ladybwear located at:

4 Wood Street
Cheadle
Cheshire
SK8 1AQ
North-West England
Tel: +441614287224

Further Reading:

  1. Russell BS. The effect of high-heeled shoes on lumbar lordosis: a narrative review and discussion of the disconnect between Internet content and peer-reviewed literature. J Chiropr Med. 2010 Dec;9(4):166-73.
Image Credit: Some rights reserved by KaiChanVong