Gaga Over Heels
A great article for sandal wearing weather. Check out this experiment about what heels do to our bodies…..
Gaga Over Heels: Myoskeletal Alignment for Postural Problems
by Erik Dalton, Ph.D.
Article as seen in Massage Magazine September 2011
Creating a new dynamic equilibrium
The biomechanical effect of heels, in everything from running shoes to stilettos, has puzzled researchers and fired controversy for almost a century. In a highly functioning body, the neuro-myoskeletal system hangs in dynamic equilibrium, each part balancing the other. But when a woman wears high heels, a new dynamic equilibrium occurs. If one body part becomes fixed, the whole system must compensate with altered movement patterns, resulting in kinetic “chain” kinks.
Here is an interesting experiment that will help you get a feel for the biomechanical adjustments high-heel wearers deal with every day:
Stand barefoot with the back against a wall. Observe how your upright body column forms a perpendicular line, or 90-degree angle, with the floor (Fig. 1a). Slide a 2-inch wedge of some kind, such as a phone book, under both heels. Notice by keeping your body column rigid, you’re forced to tilt forward from90 to about 70 degrees (Fig. 1b).
Now replace the wedge with a 3-inch wedge and straighten up so you’re touching the wall again. Feel the dramatic myoskeletal adaptations that take place. Can you feel your ankles shift from dorsi- to plantar-flexion? In this standing posture, the knees buckle, hips flex, low back sways and shoulder girdle retracts (Fig. 1c).
The brain, guided by foot, ankle and visual proprioceptors, must instantaneously make a whole series of myofascial and joint adjustments to the ankle, knee, hip, spine and head to regain and retain erect stance and equilibrium.
But high-heeled, posturo-functional faults are not confined to the external milieu; they may also inflict compressional damage on the internal viscera, particularly the pelvic bowl contents. According to research conducted by Canadian physiotherapist Diane Lee, which she described in the article, “Biomechanical Effects of Wearing High Heel Shoes,” published in the International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, excessive lumbar lordosis causes the pelvic bowl to dip anteriorly, which raises the body’s center of gravity and leads to reduced proprioceptive stability. So not only are we more unstable on our feet when wearing heels, but the increased anterior pelvic tilt squashes our poor organs.
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