Friday, 5 July 2013

Cute High Heels!....But are they killing you? Health dangers of high heels and how to avoid them

Millions of women wear high heels almost every day.  But what most don’t know is that they’re routinely putting themselves at risk of permanent physiological damage to their knees, hips, back and tendons. Yeah, high heels are cute, but these shoes can harm if worn the wrong way.

Each foot has 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments, 19 muscles, nearly 200,000 nerve endings and countless blood vessels. Why then do so many people jam or strap their feet into killer shoes that wreak such havoc on this key body part?

Marilyn Monroe once said, “I don’t know who invented high heels, but all women owe him a lot.” But what she didn’t realize was that a lot of women can attribute whoever started this age-old trend to their health problems. Sky-high heels, too-low flats, arch-less flip-flops and pointy or wrong-sized shoes can cause deformed toes, painful bumps and bunions, inflamed nerves or bones, torn or overstretched ligaments, even hairline fractures.

What Women Love About High Heels
High heels have their fashionable advantages for women. The very fact that a man designed the unique style of these shoes leads to the reality that they can enhance the attractiveness of a woman. High heels can make her:
  • Calves look firmer and more pronounced
  • Lower leg muscles more defined
  • Legs look longer
  • Butt look more rounded and pronounced
  • Feet look smaller
  • Look taller
  • Feet and toes look smaller
  • Walk seductively in short and tipping strides
  • Posture more upright causing her to even push out her busts
The higher the heels the greater these advantages will be, and at the same time the physical health hazards will increase.

The Dangers

Wearing heels is an art and women deserve medals for learning to walk in them (let alone run!). When a woman is walking in heels, she is basically walking on the balls of her feet. The ball of the foot will experience intense pressure, and this pressure more than doubles with every inch in height of shoe heel. Ankle injuries are always a threat and the degree of injuries can extend from sprains to fractures. Calluses, corns and bunions can be formed on feet due to high heels, especially if the shoes are tight, tough or walked in for long periods.
Metatarsalgia is a condition affecting the ball of the foot, where all the weight is concentrated on when a woman is in heels. Hammertoes is a condition where the toes are maintained downward curled position because of the continual confinement of the feet in the high heels. The muscles of the feet become tight and are unable to stretch and straighten when out of the shoes.
A pump bump can be recognized on the heel where the straps of high heels are wrapped around. The straps cause intense friction on the heel causing that nuisance of a bump to form. Women may complain of numbness, sharp pain and burning in the toes and ball of the foot when wearing high heeled shoes – all of which are symptoms of Morton’s Neuroma. Morton’s Neuroma is the inflammation of the tissue surrounding the nerve between the 3rd and 4rth toe.

High heels cause much more pressure to be exerted on the knees. The force that causes such pressure is more than what the knees are designed for, and can give rise to a condition called osteoarthritis.

Consider that when you tip you cause all your weight to be projected towards the ball of your feet. You will involuntarily adjust your posture to compensate for a shift in your center of gravity. This is a similar occurrence to wearing high heels, and it will be worse because the feet will be in a fixed position. A woman will have to bend her spine in the lower back more to keep her balance. Women may wonder where certain back, shoulder and neck pain may come from. Well, high heels are a prime cause of such pain in the torso.

Lower Legs
The calves will tend to retain the contracted and shortened state due to the feet being in high heels. The calf muscles may become difficult or virtually impossible to straighten without medical intervention. A similar condition can occur with the Achilles’ tendon where it too can retain it’s shortened state even when a woman is not wearing heels.

Tips On Reducing The Dangers
The physical dangers of wearing high heels should be kept into consideration when choosing the next pair.
  1. Always choose comfortable high-heeled shoes. Consider high heeled shoes with an air bag or very comfortable sole that protects your feet from rubbing and provides shock absorption.
  2. Choose to try on shoes at the end of your day, as they swell throughout the day when you stand and walk around.
  3. Try on both pairs of shoes, as your feet may not be identical in size and the shoes may not be identical in size as well.
  4. Limit your walking and standing when wearing high heels.
  5. Stretch tight shoes with shoe stretchers to make them more comfortable.
  6. Avoid running in high heels!
  7. Have your legs and feet massaged after wearing high heels.


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