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Come Heels Or High Water: The Dangers and Agony Of The Feet.

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

If like many of us you consider yourself a fabulous fashionista than you would never consider stepping out in style unless you were stepping out in a sexy (high heel) shoe. Well, recent research reveals that these "killer heels" may actually be deadly to our feet. Besides the aching arches, and caloused feet, years of wearing high heels may mean more wear and tear on the calf muscles and tendons.

According to new studies (conducted in England), the incline of such sexy shoes results in contraction of calf muscles, and a shortening of muscle fibers over time. This in turn results in an excessive thickening of the Achilles tendon making more difficult for these ladies to walk in flats or sneakers with many even experiencing discomfort or pain when they do so.

Experts note that heels are hellacious on your feet and your body and that whenever you put them on you are (in some way) affecting and "deforming" your body. They add that while they look GREAT, they are anything but (great) for you physically because the body was not made to wear them.

The study which compared women who frequently wore heels (including low and mid heels daily) to those who did not found that the former had calf muscle fibers that were 13 percent shorter than their flat-wearing counterparts; and MRIs revealed that the Achilles tendon, which attaches the heel bone to the calf muscle was thicker and stiffer.

Others note the importance of the findings suggesting that despite how they look heels may actually cause women grief and aggravation. They even note that the findings may (in the future) impact how shoes are made and how we define sexiness and fashion.

Here are just some of the problems that can be caused by wearing high heels.

• High heels put stress on the back and knees. Squeezing into high heels with narrow toe boxes can cause a condition called Morton's neuroma, a painful thickening of tissue between the third and fourth toes.
• Haglund's deformity, sometimes called the "pump bump," occurs when back straps of heels dig into the tissue around the Achilles tendon.
• Too-tight shoes can bring on bunions, an enlargement of bone or tissue at the base of the big toe that pushes the big toe toward the second toe.
• Pointy shoes can worsen hammertoe by forcing the toes to bend at the middle joints, eventually causing them to stay bent and rigid even when barefoot.
• And then there are those uneven-sidewalk wipeouts that lead to ankle sprains and breaks.

The "solution" is easy...step out of your stilettos and into a more sensible shoe, especially on a daily basis. In fact, foot doctors recommend replacing your spikes with sneakers and taking an anti-inflammatory to counter the problem. Yet they caution against flip flops since they offer no arch support of shock absorption and the toes are forced to scrunch with every step to keep the foot from slipping. Instead they urge ladies to reserve these summer "sandals" for poolside or beachside only.

Lastly experts urge ladies to limit the time they spend in heels as well as the amount of time they spend on their feet (when they wear them). They encourage fashionable femmes to opt for shorter, wider heels that help distribute the weight more adequately and to shop for shoes at the end of the day when feet are larger (for the best fit).

Long Island Health, Fitness & Beauty Articles > Come Heels Or High Water: The Dangers and Agony Of The Feet.

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