by Neil Zietsman from 3S Functional Training in Sun Valley.

Special considerations for women: Foot Wear


For women, high heels are generally accepted as a work place norm. Meaning more and more women are wearing high heel shoes everyday for long periods of time.

The heel of the foot being elevated has some postural concerns. An elevation of 5cm (2 inch) means the wearer is tilted forward to a 22,5 degree angle. A 10cm (4 inch) can tilt the body further forwards to a 45 degree angle (see figure 1) .

Since the body will try to keep the eyes at the level of the horizon this can cause some serious postural deviations for the wearer.


To compensate for the forward tilt being introduced by the high heels shoes the body can react in three different ways as seen in figure 2:

  •  A: Knees flexed – hyperlordosis
  •  B: Knees flexed – flat back
  •  C: Normal posture, no foot wear
  •  D: Hyperextended knees – exaggerated spinal curves

fig03The most common postural problem would be D, hyper extended knees and exaggerated spinal curve. As you can imagine wearing heels too often can, over time, cause muscle imbalances as seen in figure 3.

Forward head posture anterior pelvic tilt and hyper extended knees. These problems are often coupled with someone who has weak lower abdominal muscles or who has trouble posterior rotation of the hips, as well as weak gluteals and transverse abdominus. The wearer might experience a sore back or neck as muscles in these regions over work to keep the eyes looking forward at the horizon level.

To correct this try not to wear heels too often, strengthen the lower abdominals , transverse abdominus and gluteal muscles.

* Photograph from BBC News.


NeilNeil Zietsman from 3S Functional Training in Sun Valley has a BBA (Unisa) & internationally-accredited Master Fitness Certification (Australia) as well as a specialisation in Core & Back Conditioning (CHEK Institute).

So if results matter, contact 3S Functional Training?