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?


  • Susan Taylor, RDN LD

    Meet Susan, registered dietitian / nutritionist and fellow autoimmune warrior who is dedicated to helping women with autoimmune disease get their groove back. With the right diet and lifestyle changes, Susan empowers her clients to take control of their health and feel their best. When she's not busy saving the world you can find Susan strolling along the beach, jet-setting to new destinations, and soaking up quality time with family & friends.

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