What woman doesn’t love a nice pair of heels with their dress? They add style, they look great, and they increase height–at least temporarily. This may sound like an obvious statement, but what you may not realize is that frequently wearing heels can actually make us shorter.
After wearing heels, have you ever experienced calf pain when standing in flat shoes or bare feet? This usually happens to me the day after wearing heels and there’s a good reason for this. A study in the Journal of Experimental Biology looked at the legs of women who frequently wore heels and who had difficulty walking when they were not wearing the shoes.
Using sonograms, the researchers found that the Achilles’ tendons were thicker and stiffer and had a reduced range of motion, which made it difficult for the women to stretch their calf muscles when walking without heals since the muscle fibers became shorter while in the compressed position. How ironic is it that something that can make us appear taller can actually cause us to shrink?
For women who live in heels, this can be a significant problem. However, if you’re heel wearing is occasional, the best way to alleviate the shortness and pain is through stretching exercises and rotating shoes with different heel heights. Here are five simple calf-stretching exercises that can be done anywhere. If you're wearing heels at work and you're behind a desk, it may be helpful to do the seated calf stretch throughout the day to reduce the liklihood that your calf muscles will stay short. Here's to long, strong calves!