Could she? Did she? Really? Yep, sassy and stylish celebrity mom Victoria Beckham has been spotted wearing flats—probably due to her recent back problems. Is her mile-high footwear to blame? (Us high-heel loving moms are hoping not!)
No one was surprised when Victoria Beckham (aka Posh Spice) wore her sky-high stilettos to the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, even if it was only 10 weeks before she gave birth to baby Harper Seven. But when the first photos of post-pregnancy Posh surfaced last week, the fashion world let out a collective gasp as the style icon was caught wearing … flats? Her understated shoe choice makes sense, given reports that the mom of four experienced a slipped disc shortly after Harper's birth. Friends are blaming Beckham's love of high heels for her new-baby backache. But are they correct?
Probably not. "There is no data that relates slipped discs to high heels," says Dr. Neel Anand, director of orthopedic spine surgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, to the Los Angeles Times. "There is no data to prove it, and I don't think that's an issue at all."
A slipped disc, Anand says, is a popular name for a 'herniated' disc. This occurs when the discs—circular pads of cartilage which lie between the vertebrae, and responsible for cushioning the spine—become damaged. "They're like spongy bumpers, like a car tire", says Dr. Anand (via the LA Times). "[And] when they get a tear, the gelatinous material in the middle can start to squish out." When that happens, it often puts pressure on nerves in the spinal canal, causing pain.
A herniated disc may be caused by normal wear and tear, such as bending over or lifting things, like the laundry or even a new baby. Extra pregnancy pounds can also put extra strain on a woman's back. But wearing high heels? Experts say there's no connection.
"Some women actually feel better while wearing high heels," he says. "I tell them to do whatever feels comfortable. If they've been in high heels all their life, they'll probably do better in them than taking them off." But, it should be noted, high heels do pose a risk for slips and falls, especially when you already may be feeling off-balance later in pregnancy. Swollen feet, which most women (but not Posh, apparently) experience during pregnancy often make sneakers and other practical shoes a more comfortable choice.
Treatment for slipped discs includes anti-inflammatory medications, ice, and physical therapy. In rare cases, when symptoms don't improve or begin to worsen, surgery may be needed, according to Dr. Anand.
In other words, the fashion world can probably breathe a sigh of relief: Posh should be back in her heels real soon. Just no heavy lifting all those shopping bags!