Is it in the way she walks? Doctor fed up with high-heel injuries teaches women how to strut their stuff

October 5, 2012 | by | 0 Comments

A clinician is so fed-up with treating women for joint pain because of their high heels he has devised a course – to teach them to walk properly.

Martin Bell, 40, has been inundated with women complaining of back and knee pain because of their “wonky” posture on high heels.

The clinical orthotist has already helped hundreds of women by teaching them to stand and use their leg muscles properly and “fight” what their body has become used to.

Martin Bell, left, teaches Fiona Campbell how to walk properly in high heels

Martin Bell, left, teaches Fiona Campbell how to walk properly in high heels

He said that unless women walk in high heels correctly they could end up with chronic joint problems which could take years to resolve.

Mr Bell said: “I got fed up with so many girls coming through my clinic with back pain and numb feet and who suffer from wonky standing.

“I have to say I have an agenda against the Great British wobbly bottom, it’s that which means girls are unable to walk in heels.

Fiona struts her stuff in black heels

Fiona struts her stuff in black heels

Martin studies her walk

Martin studies her walk

“This is my venture to try and access these girls before they start coming to my clinic. We can do something now to change this and improve their posture.

“When I see girls who wear heels one of the most frequent problems related to them are weak knees and back pain.

“I work with them to look at their physical strength and muscle tightness, our legs are shock absorbers so if we aren’t walking properly they are going to hurt.”

The pair watch back a video of Fiona walking to see where she can improve her walk by strengthening her muscles

The pair watch back a video of Fiona walking to see where she can improve her walk by strengthening her muscles

The graphic demonstrates how Fiona's posture has changed after lessons in walking in high heels

The graphic demonstrates how Fiona’s posture has changed after lessons in walking in high heels

This image shows the way many women walk in high heels (left) and the 'correct' way to wear the shoes (right)

This image shows the way many women walk in high heels (left) and the ‘correct’ way to wear the shoes (right)

Mr Bell’s unique course – called ‘Perfectly Poised’ – takes place in his offices in the posh suburb of Clifton, Bristol.

It involves filming his client walking in her heels and then playing back the footage to analyse her walk.

He examines the way in which each girl uses their legs and back when walking, picking out subtle hints with their posture that could help alleviate their pain.

He then gives them exercises to help strengthen any weak muscles and improve their walk.

A slouched posture in heels

A slouched posture in heels

Firm and strong legs

Firm and strong legs

The correct way to walk in heels

The correct way to walk in heels, which will be pain-free and empowering

Women walking like this will experience joint and back pain

Women walking like this will experience joint and back pain

Mr Bell said his main clients stem from those who have never trained to improve their muscle control.

“The difficulty is if a girl has never done any running or never ever been to the gym or trained to improve their muscle control and suddenly jumps into a pair of heels,” he said

“The body cannot understand what has just happened and she thinks she can walk like she does in a pair of flip flops or ugg boots.

“She then runs the risk of going head over heels like a new born calf.

“The girls can end up standing like stalks too, with their knees entirely flexed and thus they get a lot of lower back pain.

“My other clientele stem from those middle-aged successful business women who suddenly realise there is a young girl in their office who can strut around with no problem in heels.

“They feel heels give them power so they are desperate to use them, but end up with crippling pain.”

Mr Bell added that he understands the need to wear heels, but feels that if women want to they should be properly equipped with the right knowledge of how to use them.

He said: “I’m not saying they are not fabulous things, they are, unfortunately, a necessary evil in working life.

“From asking the girls they have all said that heels can give extra height and confidence. They said it is head turning, dynamic and more powerful.

“It is also, of course, that girls tend to feel sexier in heels because it instantly makes every girl’s legs longer.

“They just need to know how to walk in them properly.”

Women can chose to attend either a group programme, or a one-to-one session to improve their walk and posture.

They are advised to wear comfortable clothing which shows off their curves so a better assessment can be made of their posture.

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