You–yes you–may be harboring a dangerous villain.

It may be lurking in your bedroom closet. Or hiding in the hallway by the front door.

It may have even have made its way into the shadowy depths of….. Your back pocket.

We’re actually talking everyday items here: the oversized handbag. The workplace or evening heels. The elegant briefcase or its more modern counterpart, the laptop bag. Even the seemingly innocuous leather wallet… fashionThe things you wear or carry on your body may secretly be conspiring to cause you serious pain and problems down the road.

We’ve talked about high heels in previous posts, but here’s Foot Levelers’ quick list of common fashion faux pas (faux pases? faux pie?) when it comes to health:

  • Large purses or handbags
  • Heavy briefcases or laptop bags
  • Too small shoes
  • High heels
  • Pointy toed shoes
  • …Even the traditional pocket wallet

Let’s “unpack” this, shall we? Big bags or heavy briefcases may carry all your essentials, but they also shift a majority of your body’s weight to one side. Our bodies are meant to stand upright–not tilt–and the addition of a large bag or purse works against this.  The result: Strain to the lower back, knees, hips, and spine.

Shoes that are too small, too tall, too pointy or fit poorly can add stress to the body and disrupt your natural gait (walking) pattern. When your walk is “off,” stress occurs in places it shouldn’t.  On your feet, you may see calluses or painful bunions. Again, strain radiates disproportionately throughout the body and joints.

wallet-holderAnd that “innocent” wallet? Many men sport it in their back pocket during the day, and sit on it without much concern.  But sitting on a wallet creates an uneven foundation for the body in the seated position – which may cause sciatica or even a herniated disc.

There’s good news: small and simple changes will help you avoid pain and strain.  If you frequently carry bags or briefcases, alternate sides. (And strengthening the muscles that are used to carry these accessories can help hold their weight while maintaining good posture).  Guys, carry your wallet in a front pocket whenever possible.

With shoes, make sure you purchase ones that fit (one study found that 88% of women wear shoes that are too small! Eighty-eight percent!!). They should also have good support–ideally, custom-made orthotics.  When wearing heels, try not to do so for any longer than 2 hours.

Keep in mind: your body is like a building.  By protecting its foundation, and taking care of the overall structure, it will look better, last longer, and feel better, too. To your health!

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