Wardrobe Ergonomics for the Working Woman March 30 2018

Wardrobe Ergonomics for the Working Woman

Certain wardrobe staples for many women in the workplace come with certain risks. High heels and heavy handbags are two examples of commonly worn items that are not considered ergonomically friendly. Women in the workplace should consider how the clothes they choose to wear or the accessories they keep may be contributing to a greater risk of developing repetitive stress injuries (RSIs).


Posture-Friendly Footwear


The first and most obvious perpetrator of wardrobe ergonomics is high heels. It is common knowledge that high heels can lead to bunions, hammertoe, stress fractures and the shortening of the Achilles tendon. High heels can even alter a woman’s natural gait over time and when worn often enough since they shift her center of gravity. High heels push a woman’s gravity center forward, causing an exaggerated curvature of the spine. This can contribute to lower back pain!


If you know you will be walking a significant amount throughout the day, opt for flats or sneakers. Flip flops are not an advisable option since they can cause lower leg pain over time.


Long Fingernails


Longer fingernails can actually increase your risk for RSIs. It doesn’t much matter whether they’re acrylic or natural, as it is the length of the nail that can force your hands out of proper typing position. Long nails force you to type with the pads of your fingers instead of the tips of your fingers. This puts more strain on the wrists and increases the risk of carpal tunnel syndrome.


Studies have also shown that nails any longer than 0.5 centimeters compromise the neutral curled position of the finger when typing, which will inevitably lead to excessive strain on the joints and muscles of the wrists and hands.


Heavy Handbags


Carrying too much in a bag to the office on a daily basis can put strain on your shoulders and neck. Especially if you’re also toting a laptop bag, a briefcase, or a shopping bag at the same time. Heavy bags place pressure on the nerves and result in neck pain, shoulder pain, and lower back pain. Especially since many women carry their handbag on the same shoulder every time, this can result in developing maladaptive posture and even spinal misalignment.


Making informed choices about workplace fashion can keep you healthy and ergonomically safe! Though these details may seem trivial, knowing your nail length, shoes, and handbag can cause damages to your body over time is good to keep in mind. That way, you can switch it up and alternate between fashion choices.