Saturday was one of the most moving experiences in my recent memory. My cousin, Matt Bigelow, with the help of family and friends orchestrated a gala for his sister, Mary Kate. Mary Kate was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) in her early years of life. Although this condition has limited her physically in some capacity, it has not taken away her spirit, energy and positive effect on the community. Around 300 people showed up and had an immaculate time at the event.
Whenever someone has to go to an event like this, there are usually two options for footwear: high heels for women and heeled dress shoes for men. These choices create the best fashion sense to match with a corresponding outfit, although they can have detrimental effects on the feet, ankles, knees, hip and low back following it. There are two main ways to combat wearing this type of footwear:
There is nothing wrong with choosing which footwear you think looks best with your outfit. What you can control is how often you are wearing footwear that is sub optimal for the health of your feet. Wearing footwear with an elevated heel for a 3 hour gala every now and then isn’t too bad. Not good, but not the worse thing ever. You can compare it to having a bowl of ice cream once in a while. This small dosage is okay. People start running into trouble when they are wearing heeled footwear all the time. This includes heels, dress shoes for men, many running shoes, and majority of shoes you will find on the shelf at your local shoe store or online. The higher the heel, the worse effect it will have on your walking mechanics and joints. Try and find the right dosage that allows you to wear fashionable shoes while preserving the health of your feet.
2. Foot restoration
I have to give credit to my Mom for suggesting me to write this part of the post (thanks Mom!). After a night of heels or a long day in heeled dress shoes, the best thing you can do is to take 5-10 minutes to restore the health of your feet. A couple suggestions for this are wearing toe spreaders, mobilizing the bottom of your foot with a lacrosse ball and balancing on a balance beam. If you are unfamiliar with any of these tools or exercise, please reach out to me for more explanation!
In case you are wondering what I mean by heeled footwear, that is in reference to the amount or degree of heel drop from the back of the shoe to the front. Unless you are wearing a “zero-drop” shoe, you are essentially standing on a ramp all day long. The effects of this will be explained in future posts. My main goal with educating people about footwear is to inform them with the best of abilities that I can. There are many ways to incorporate your favorite shoes in your life if you understand the effects of heeled footwear, the proper dosing for wearing shoes like this and how to take steps to restore your feet.