The holiday season is upon us and that means an endless parade of office parties, family dinners, and other occasions that require us to dress in our best. For many ladies, this means breaking out the heels. But even with sensible kitten heels, some ladies will have their feet screaming before they pass around the eggnog. Ever wondered why some ladies are comfortable in flats while others can dance all night in sky-high shoes? It all has to do with the talus bone.
The talus bone, commonly referred to as the anklebone, connects the bones of the lower leg to the bones of the tarsus (a group of bones just below the ankle joint). Remember, the foot has the highest concentration of bones in the body (52 bones; 25% of our body), so the talus has an important job.
A clever podiatrist named Emma Supple, decided she wanted to find out how to scientifically measure the flexibility of the talus bone, therefore determining each woman’s personal Perfect Heel Height (PHH). The formula is simple; all you need is a chair, a pencil, a ruler/tape measure, and a friend (willing or unwilling).
Step 1) Sit in the chair and stick one leg out parallel to the floor, then relax your foot so it falls into a natural position (like the baby blue heels to the left)
Step 2) Have your friend stretch the tape measure from the base of your heel out towards your toes, keeping it parallel to the floor
Step 3) Use the pencil to form a right angle between the tape measure and the ball of your foot. Whatever the pencil points to on the measuring tape is your PPH.
For a woman with a very flexible talus bone, the measurement can be three or four inches. If your foot naturally falls closer to a 90-degree angle to your shin, a lower shoe is necessary to ensure comfort. An overextended talus bone will send you into agony, but so will a squashed one. “According to the College of Podiatry, sore feet cause the average woman 23 days of pain every year. That’s an hour-and-a-half a day.” (https://goo.gl/ijAs72) Needless to say, that much pain can cause major foot problems!
There does seem to be a maximum heel height for everyday wear though. Even if you measure as a four or five inch heel, keep it to three or lower for everyday wear. In addition to height, pay attention to heel positioning. The center of the shoe heel should be directly under the center of the heel of your foot, thus acting as a direct extension of your leg. Heels placed too far back can cause imbalance and potentially snap off under pressure.
Make sure your feet are singing carols this holiday season, not screaming in protest. Take the time to calculate your PPH and I bet you will find that your favorite pair of shoes fall right on that mark.