Sunday January 29, 2012 14:04

Are High Heels Bad For You and Your Health?

Posted by tina_peril

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Photo: Tooga/The Image Bank/Getty

Carrie Bradshaw is going to be pissed.

A biochemist at the University of Finland, Dr. Neil J. Cronin, is advising women to forsake their stilettos in favor of sneakers and crocs. Why? He and his researchers have found evidence that heel wearers are jeopardizing their health in the name of fashion.

While on his coffee break, Dr. Cronin witnessed what us stiletto mavens know as a “rookie move”: a woman teetering in high heels, displaying her discomfort for all to see. The Dr. said to himself, ‘what might be happening at the muscle and tendon level?’

It wasn’t long before Dr. Cronin had filled a science lab with nine women who wore heels approximately 40 hours per week, and ten women who rarely ever slipped on a pair of Louboutins. It turns out that women who wear heels walk differently, and more dangerously, than women who wear flats, even after they’ve kicked off their fancy footwear.

“The scientists found that heel wearers moved with shorter, more forceful strides… their feet perpetually in a flexed, toes-pointed position,” writes Gretchen Reynolds of the New York Times. “As a result… they put much greater mechanical strain on their calf muscles than the control group did.” Translation: women who wear heels are bound to put extra stress on their feet and legs, causing muscle fatigue and making themselves more susceptible to injury.

But if you think switching from Atwood to Adidas now is going to help, you’re in for a rude (and potentially painful) awakening. When a woman regularly wears heels, her feet and legs become accustomed to stiletto positioning, and “any change to this default setting… could increase injury risk,” said the doctor. His advice is to start weaning yourself off high heels. “Try to remove the heels whenever possible, such as when you’re sitting at your desk.”

Are you slipping off your stilettos, or is there really no gain without a little bit of pain?

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