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The Dangers of Wearing High Heels

Woman in high heels

Many women wear high heels to boost their height and look fashionable. But, high heels can be unstable and uncomfortable. And, are they safe? This article looks at the health effects of wearing high heels regularly over the long run.

Australian Study
Australian researchers looked at the ramifications of wearing high heels in a recent study. They monitored nine women who wore high heels regularly for at least two years. Another group consisted of women who rarely wore these heels. Both groups of women were asked to walk on a walkway in the lab barefoot and wearing high heels. Their leg-muscle movements were tracked using electrodes and motion-capture markers.

The Findings
The researchers found there was a huge difference in the gaits of the high heel group and the normal group. The heel wearers walked with forceful, short strides and their feet were flexed even when they walked barefoot. This usual gait had shortened the fibers present in their calf muscles and there was more strain on these muscles too, compared with the normal group. The heel shunners stressed and stretched their tendons while walking, while the heel wearers engaged their leg muscles more.

The Ramifications
Straining and stretching their shortened calves affected the heel wearers because their walk was less efficient and needed more energy. This caused muscle fatigue in their legs. What are the ramifications of short calf muscles and non-use of tendons as found in the heel wearers? Biomechanists say these women are more exposed to the risk of muscle strains. Besides, newbies may topple over, twist their ankle and wound their self-image.

More Risks of Heel Wearing
What happens when a habitual heel wearer uses sports shoes while working out? Their joints and other structures become permanently altered because of their heel-wearing habit which increases injury risk while working out in sports shoes.

Doctor’s Advice
Experts say to minimize joint and muscle strains, limit wearing high heels to just a couple of occasions each week. But, if you are not too keen on this advice, remove your high heels whenever possible and let your feet nestle in their normal position. For instance, you can remove the heels while working at your office desk. Common sense indicates that your health is more important than any assumed boost to self-image created by wearing high heels regularly.

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