red high heels

RA and The Sexy Shoe Problem

I used to love high heels.  Being vertically challenged, I’ve always longed to be tall and modelesque (is that a word?), so short of a leg transplant, heels seemed to be the best way to achieve my longed for goal.  There was a time when it was nothing for me to run, hop, skip, or jump down the street in 4 inch heels –and yes, I admit I was a fan of Sex In The City and thought I was the next Carrie. My favorite ankle breakers were red and I wore the soles off those pumps!   However, I do confess, that I sprained my ankle once in high school while wearing a pair of measly 2 inchers, but I was underage at the time so it doesn’t count!

Plus, heels make your legs look awesome.  I always felt like a slightly better version of myself when wearing them– you know, the tall, sexy me.  Sexy shoes are like a work of art with their clean, sleek lines and vibrant colors.  Holy Manolo Blahniks, I do miss my high-heeled self sometimes!   However, life is not all sunshine and blue skies in Jimmy Choo Land. Yes, there is a dark side to the stiletto world.

Let’s start with the pain and suffering.  As always, there is a study out there to prove that what you love the most is bad for you. According to an Iowa State study, women who were in the habit of wearing 2-3.5 – inch heels were at an increased risk of knee joint degeneration and knee osteoarthritis — the higher the heel, the higher the risk.  Did I forget to mention the increased risk of low back and foot pain later in life. High heels tend to throw the body out of alignment, which can be a real issue with RA, since it puts your joints in a pretty awkward position. Yikes, It’s amazing I survived this long without major injury!

Since being diagnosed with RA, my days of wearing skyscraper heels are pretty much over.  C’est la vie.  Upon reflection, maybe it’s not such a bad thing to take better care of my body and, in particular, my feet . After all, I only get one pair and definitely don’t miss the foot, back, and knee pain.  I’ve  pretty much adjusted to life in the low heeled lane, but, I do stray a once in awhile with a little kitten heel — only on special occasions, of course. (Don’t tell anyone!)  I guess, you can take the girl out of the high heels, but you can’t take the high heels out of the girl.  But I’m working on it — Uggs aren’t so bad, right?

About the author

Susan Taylor, RDN LD is a registered dietitian / nutritionist with 20+ years experience in the nutrition field.  Susan has worked in a variety of clinical settings including hospitals, longterm care, rehab, and private practice. She currently enjoys life in the Charleston, SC area and is always looking for ways to fit in a little more beach time.