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Title: High heels: The price women’s feet pay…Not their wallet!
Author: Strata

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High heels: The price women’s feet
pay…Not their wallet!

Let’s admit it, ladies. We abuse our feet. Your killer heels are
killing much more than you think. Based on our desire to be
fashionable, we often wear shoes that don’t fit well or are just
not designed for walking and standing for long periods of time.
One in 10 women wear high heels at least three days a week and
a third have fallen while wearing them. Statistics show that high
heels are one of the biggest factors leading to foot problems in
women, with up to a third suffering permanent problems as a
result of prolonged wear. Even Oprah admits that she only wears
her highest heels once she’s seated during an interview.

There is an established connection between high heels and
foot, ankle, knee, hip and back pain – the above 3-D scan of
a female foot in a high-heeled shoe might make you rethink
that new pair of Manolo Blahniks and Charles David. Jam
these engineering marvels into high heels and…OUCH –
you’ve shifted much of your mass onto the balls of your feet
and your tiny, delicate toe bones leading to pain, clawing of
toes, ingrown toenails etc. The higher the heel, the bigger
the impact. Walking in heels also stiffens your Achilles
tendons. If you’ve had your tall pumps on all day, you might
have trouble walking naturally when you first kick off your
kicks. Over time, stiletto devotees can develop chronically
taut (and shortened!) ankle and calf tendons, making
walking—even in flats—painful.

In addition, frequent high-heel use can put extra stress on the
inner sides of the knees, fast-tracking the wear and tear that
leads to osteoarthritis and hence knee pain. To keep from keeling
over in stacked shoes, you have to thrust your hips forward, arch
your back, and push out your chest. That familiar sexy stance
works the outer hip muscles and tendons hard (and not in a
good way). In order to sashay around in heels, your spine also
needs to sway unnaturally resulting in a sore lower back.

In moderation high heels are fine. It is when worn day in day
out that problems could develop. And if you still can’t live
without your heels try and set your limit to two inches, don’t
go for the pointed toe, stretch leg muscles before and after
putting on high heels, buy a wide variety of shoes and vary
your footwear day to day.
All in all, scary stuff. It’s nothing any health-conscious
fashionista hasn’t heard before, but it makes us think. Maybe
with the summer behind us, it’s the perfect time to take a
break with some sandals or cute flats.

Dr. Aprajita Nakra DPM, FACFAS, Dr. Vu Nguyen DPM, and Dr.
Jessica Prebish DPM and Dr. Bruce W. Krell, DPM, DABPS, FACFAS,
are foot and ankle specialists and are licensed to practice podiatric
foot and ankle medicine and surgery in Arizona.
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