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When Fashion Causes Pain
A pair of four-inch heels and an over-the-shoulder purse may complete a fashionista’s outfit, but today’s trendy shoes and over-sized bags can harm body mechanics and cause pain.
“Wearing high heels increases the risk of sprained ankles, low back pain and leg pain,” says Tricia Butynskyi, MSPT, DPT, of Good Shepherd Physical Therapy-Macungie. “High heels create an unstable posture, which increases the compressive forces in the low back. That change in posture leads to compensatory muscle firing that can cause discomfort and fatigue.”
Purses cause similar body mechanic issues. Today’s fashion trend is for very large – and heavy – purses. As a result, physicians and therapists are treating more people for elbow, shoulder and neck pain due to how these heavy bags are carried.
Wearing heavy handbags over one shoulder causes uneven weight distribution across the back and may restrict blood flow at the shoulder. Heavy bags and unpadded shoulder straps place extra pressure on the nerves of the neck and shoulders and can result in pain, tingling, stiffness, numbness and tightness in the neck, shoulders and low back.
As a general rule, handbags should not weigh more than 10 to 15 percent of your body weight. For example, a 100-pound woman’s purse should not weigh more than 15 pounds. This also applies to moms toting diaper bags.
The new fashion rules to avoid pain: Lighten up your bag and wear shoes with no more than a 1-inch heel.
If you are experiencing neck, back or shoulder pain, a physical therapy treatment program may help alleviate your discomfort.
To learn more, call 1-888-44-REHAB (73422) or contact us.