High heels can heighten health issues

First Posted: 1/28/2014

“I don’t know who invented high heels, but all women owe him a lot.”

— Marilyn Monroe

My mom, my daughter, Nikki, and I went shopping last Saturday. Much to my surprise, Nikki picked out a long dress to purchase as opposed to the usual teenage dresses that make me wonder how they can sit down. Grandma was worried that the dress was too long, so I reminded her that Nikki tends to wear uber-high heels which would make the length just fine.

As for myself, I avoid those kinds of shoes like the plague. They are too high, too narrow and are an accident waiting to happen. Unfortunately, we women folk need to wear something besides flip flops and flats once in a while. So what is a girl to do?

According to CNNHealth.com, the average height of women’s high heel shoes has increased from 3 to 5 inches in the past five years. In addition, the number of women seeing a doctor for toe and or foot problems has increased by 75 percent.

Podiatrists and orthopedic doctors alike see all sorts of physical ailments that are related directly or indirectly to wearing fashionable footwear. Let’s look at some of health problems associated with being “in style”:

— Sprains and strains: Women who walk around in high heels are more likely to suffer ankle and foot injuries. The very nature of heels being tall and narrow make them a danger. If you have to have an elevated heel, choose one with a wider base to make it safer.

— Chronic foot problems: The development of bunions, corns and plantar fascia pain is directly related to shoe type. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, nine out of 10 women develop these foot problems because of bad shoes. Narrow, high-heeled or pointed toe shoes are the worst culprits.

— Knee, hip and back issues: When walking in heels, our gait changes significantly. Changes to the way we walk in heels as opposed to in sneakers or flats can cause degenerative changes to our hips, knees and backs.

Given the choice between ugly shoes and potentially dangerous shoes, it is best to compromise. Instead of 5-inch heels, opt for 3 inches. If you cannot live without your high fashion footwear, then limit your time in them to an hour or so at a time. Doing some calf and leg stretches daily at the gym can help prevent issues as well. If you want the latest list of the most fashionable and comfy high heel shoes, check out fabsugar.com .

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