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High Fashion Might Be Causing High Pain

The Cannes Film Festival organizers drew ire at this year’s event when several women were reportedly turned away from premieres for not wearing high heels. Women were understandably upset at the idea that they would be forced to wear shoes that they know are bad for their health. As many as one in three women experience permanent damage from the footwear – such as arthritis, metatarsalgia, and even chronic neck pain.

Getting Help Shafter, CAActress Emily Blunt was outspoken on the issue, saying that no one should really be wearing high heels at all. Blunt noted that the problem, which initially led to one director’s wife being turned away from her husband’s screening (the Amy Winehouse documentary Amy), was disconcerting to see in 2015.

Unfortunately, high heels are not the only clothing item that we should be worried about if we want to avoid long-term conditions such as foot or back pain.

Former American Chiropractic Association president Dr. Richard Brassard finds it upsetting to see women contributing to neck pain and other issues with their everyday activities. "Sometimes I see a woman walking down the street with high heels and a two-ton bag,” he said, “and I want to stop her and make her aware of what she is doing to her body."

Beyond high heels, other dangers of high fashion include:

  • Tight clothing. Skinny jeans, tight skirts, and other restrictive items can make it difficult for you to easily perform daily movements. They can also lead to spinal misalignment, a major source of back pain. Skinny jeans have gotten particularly bad press lately, with reports that they can additionally cause twisted testicles, aggravation of heartburn, and urinary tract infections.
  • Heavy backpacks or bags. You may have read that kids carry too many books around at the risk of their spinal health, but it’s true of adults as well. Here is a simple guideline: take your weight, and divide it by 10. Anything over that amount in a bag can lead to postural problems. The problem is exacerbated if you put a bag over one shoulder, leading to a mechanical imbalance between your hips and your legs.
  • Sitting on your wallet. Do you use your back pocket for your wallet or any other personal items? That’s fine when you are moving, but you don’t want to keep anything in your back pocket when you’re sitting down, said Dr. Brassard. It can lead to back pain. "Sitting on your wallet or card holder for the entire day will create a pocket in the muscle lying underneath the wallet,” he said, “and whether your pants are tight or loose-fitting, this can result in discomfort or pain."

Getting Help

Has high fashion led you to chronic back or neck pain? Envista Medical can help, with a complimentary diagnostic visit for new patients.