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    How are high heels damaging workplace productivity?

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    Office productivity is being effected by employees with high heels, according to new reports

    Last year, the government rejected calls to stop employers being able to force female workers to wear high heels to work. However, constantly wearing high heels can have negative implications to the backs of your employees, which can be detrimental to their wellbeing, thus impacting their performance at work.

    Dr Christian Allard DC, Clinic Director at ProBack takes you through the side effects that wearing high heels can have on your body:

    Centre of gravity
    High heels increase the amount of weight that the forefoot bears, and also pushes the centre of gravity forward.

    If the body centre of gravity is moved forward, it also tends to create an anterior head carriage, meaning that the head is held forward. Since the muscles of the spine are not designed to hold the head in a forward position for extended periods of time, the muscles start to get “fatigue” and a muscle that is fatigued hurts. This is mainly due to the lactic acid (metabolite created by muscle contraction) that starts to accumulate.

    Lactic acid has changes the histology of the muscle fibres, and the muscles become hard and start to develop scar tissue. Should this become the case, employees may find it increasingly difficult to find comfortable positions to work. Any aches and pains may also cause your employees to struggle to focus, and could affect their ability to carry out other tasks.

    Feel the burn
    In terms of pain vs scar tissue; whenever pain receptors are stuck in scar tissue, they will send the pain signals to the brain at an amplified rate. It has been found that the pain signal will be sent to the brain 1000 times easier.

    And the last thing that any employer wants is for their employee to have increased pain signals sent to the brain.

    Back problems
    Regularly wearing heels may have a detrimental effect on the position of the spine, and can create a low back extension. The thoracic spine (mid-back) can move backwards, while the head moves forwards.

    The natural curves on the spine are responsible for 80% of shock absorption, without the proper curves, the spine and discs will take on some of the load. This will cause them to wear down faster and can cause pain which could have a knock on effect on your employee’s productivity.

    Leaving you breathless
    It has been shown that even if the head is positioned 1 inch forward from its usual position it can become around 20% more difficult to breathe.

    This positioning may also impact the heart, as the misalignment can cause the ribs to press on it, this can make it harder to pump blood around the body. This can limit oxygen to the vital areas of the body, meaning your employees may be less able to complete their necessary tasks.

    How many women in your office wear high heels to the office? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

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    Toby Cruse

    Content Writer - PA Life

    All stories by: Toby Cruse