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High Heels Putting Women At Risk [AUDIO]

Pascal LeSagretain, Getty Images

They may look nice, they make us look taller and our legs look longer, but high heeled shoes could put you at risk for muscle injury. That’s according to a new study.

“When you wear high heels, they force your feet into a plantar-flexed position like a Barbie doll,” said Podiatrist Dr. Theodore D’Amato. “If you wear them on a daily basis, your calf muscle gets tighter and your Achilles tendon is attached to your calf muscle. As that whole complex gets tighter, it adds more tension and forces your Achilles tendon to stiffen rather than flex with each step. So, when you walk barefoot, it causes more tension for your Achilles tendon that is no longer used to being in a flexed position.”

“This can result in Achilles tendonitis or even heel spurs over the long term,” he said. “Acutely, high heels can cause ankle sprains, blisters, corns, calluses and ingrown toenails.”

“High heels shouldn’t be an every day shoe that you wear. Can you wear them to go to a wedding, once a week or twice a week to work? That’s fine,” said D’Amato. “If you’re going to insist on wearing them on a daily basis, don’t wear stilettos that are sometimes four and five inches tall. Get down to a one or two inch heel as a compromise.”

In the study, led by Dr. Neil J. Cronin, a researcher at Finland’s University of Jyvaskyla, heels devotees tended to walk with a perpetually flexed-foot, even when they walked barefoot. “The results suggest that long-term high heel use may compromise muscle efficiency in walking and are consistent with reports that high heel wearers often experience discomfort and muscle fatigue,” wrote the authors.

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