All Articles Tagged "high heels"
As a teen, I rarely missed an opportunity to break out my highest heels for Sunday church services. But there was one usher in particular who hated to see me coming.
“Goodness those shoes give me a headache,” she dramatically snarled at me one day as I entered the church cafeteria. “Keep it up and your entire uterus is going to shift.
In my mind, I wrote her off as a grouchy old bird who had apparently never mastered the “if you have nothing nice to say don’t say anything at all” rule. But a recent study suggests that the mean usher who constantly hated on my choice of shoes may have been onto something.
New research from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, published in the Journal of Foot and Ankle Study, revealed that high-heel related injuries doubled between 2002 and 2012. The frequency and severity of said injuries caused investigators to recommend wearing the right shoes for the appropriate occasions. Interestingly, nearly half of these injuries occurred in the home. It was also revealed that while females made up the majority of these injuries, the rate of injury for Black women was twice that of White women.
“Although high-heeled shoes might be stylish, from a health standpoint, it would be worthwhile for those interested in wearing high-heeled shoes to understand the risks and the potential harm that precarious activities in high-heeled shoes can cause,” said lead investigator Gerald McGwin, Ph.D., vice chair and professor of the Department of Epidemiology in the UAB School of Public Health.
In addition to terrible mishaps, research suggests that these heels can cause lower leg, ankle and foot discomfort as well as “reduce ankle muscle movement, step length, total range of movement and balance control.”
“Some historians suggest that high-heeled shoes have been around for nearly 300 years and that medical professionals have been warning wearers about the dangers of such shoes for the same amount of time,” McGwin said. “While previous studies have confirmed that high heels are associated with lower extremity discomfort and musculoskeletal issues, there is very little information on the nature and frequency of these injuries, or which age groups were most affected.”
As a solution, researchers suggest that “those wearing heels be aware of how often and for how long they wear them.”
Ladies, I realize it is the end of the summer months and I am sure many of you are trying to figure out why are your feet hurting so badly. I have an idea it may be the footwear you wore a majority of the time this summer. Flip Flops are convenient and in the warm months they are extremely comfortable. They now come in all sorts of styles so they no longer look cheap. But there’s a problem.
What’s Wrong With Flip Flops?
Flip Flops, unlike their other shoes, provide no support for your arches, cushioning for your heel or shock absorption. These are all the important things that normal walking shoes supply. Flip Flop wearers often suffer from foot pain due to lack of arch support, tendinitis, and even sprained ankles if they trip. They also offer very little protection so you are at greater risk for stubbed toes, glass cuts, puncture wounds, or having a heavy object smash your foot. Many people ride bikes and play outdoor sports in these shoes during the warm months and expose themselves to more injuries because of the design of a Flip Flop. It is also not recommended to drive in Flip Flops because of the possibility of the shoe lodging under the brake or gas pedal impairing a driver’s control.
The fall is coming soon and some of us ladies will want to get back in our high heels. I am only 4 feet 11 inches tall so I love my high heels but I understand that you have to wear them in moderation.
How Can High Heels Be A Hazard To Your Health?
High heels can create the perfect storm for permanent health problems. If you frequently wear high heels, you are setting yourself up for long-term issues. Wearing high heels for an extended amount of time and continually bending your toes into an unnatural position can cause a range of ailments, from ingrown toenails to irreversible damage to leg tendons. Additionally, cramming your toes into a narrow toe box can cause nerve damage and bunions. Wearing high heels has also been linked to overworked or injured leg muscles, osteoarthritis of the knee, plantar fasciitis and low back pain. When you wear heels two inches or higher, your foot slides forward in your shoe, forcing the toes into the unnatural shape of the shoe and redistributing your weight incorrectly. The increased weight on your toes causes your body to tilt forward, and to compensate; you lean backwards and overarch your back, creating a posture that can train your knees, hips and lower back. This change in the position of your spine puts pressure on the nerves in your back and can cause sciatica, a condition where nerves become trapped, triggering pain and numbness as far down to your feet. The American Podiatric Medical Association has approved Insolia heels. This is how they explain how they work,
“Insolia Heels change the shape of the inside of the shoe with a firm, flexible insole that fits in the back of the shoe. It keeps the pressure off your toes and stops your foot from sliding forward. That way, the rest of your foot can carry your weight like it’s supposed to. The weight shifts, your foot stops hurting, and because you no longer have to overcompensate with your walk, it even improves your posture. Since you can stand straighter and walk better, it makes you taller.”
The use of Insolia’s should supplement moderate wearing of high heels.
I am not trying to tell you to throw out your Flip Flops or high heels. However, you need not injure yourself trying to be cute. I know they say beauty comes at a price but don’t let that price be too hefty like the cost of your health. Flip Flops are great poolside and in public showers, not for walking amusement parks or playing football in the backyard. High heels are great for the office but on your way to and from the office wear sensible shoes, unless you are being dropped off at the door. If you insist on wearing high heels I highly recommend you purchase Insolia. Please leave me a comment or email me and let me know how they work for you. Don’t hesitate to Ask Dr. Renee.
Dr. Renee Matthews has appeared on television shows such as “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and WGN’s “People to People” where she discussed different health topics. She started her media career with her own radio show on ReachMD, a programming source for health professionals. In addition Dr. Renee has been a featured medical correspondent on Sirius XM’s “Sway in the Morning.”
Dr. Renee earned her undergraduate degree in 1999 and her Medical Doctorate in 2005. She spent the early part of her medical career as an educator for numerous hospitals and attending staff on cord blood.
There might be some correlation between the size of my shoe heel and my current trajectory through womanhood.
I was 15 years old and at an age where a girls most important fashion aim to look as womanly as possible. Coming cool off a tomboy phase, which back in the early 90s meant oversized shirts and jackets; baggy jeans and timberland boots, I was learning quick from my more “mature” peers that there was nothing less womanly than a girl parading around in sneakers or flats. My introduction to heels came by way of a lipstick red Mary Janes. I had gotten them because they were just like the pair that my best girlfriend had and she was as girly as they came. Plus the shoes were the most comfortable looking pair of all of her repertoire of pumps. Flexible enough to give the foot some room to bend and with a chunky heel, Mary Janes actually felt a lot like how they looked. Plus they were cute and could be worn and pretty much went with anything. I liked the shoes so much that I got another pair in white patent leather and then another pair in black. By my fifth pair, I started noticing that the heels on the Mary Janes started getting higher and thinner and eventually I abandoned the Mary Jane design all together…
According to science, the feet contains 26 bones, 107 ligaments and 19 muscles and tendons. By the time that I had reached 25, my various heels had managed to irritate the hell out of all of them. I was in the midst of my personal fashion era, where style mattered over comfort. Heels, I felt, gave my legs more contouring. They also made me look sophisticated. Plus they were more fashionable than flats. Most non-flip-flop and sneaker flats looked like the shoes that middle-aged moms wore to work as an administrative assistant at the DMV. No young and virile young woman wants to look like their mom-at-work. This led to many evenings out, where the pain from my heels would either relegate me to a chair, watching everyone else have fun, or holding on for dear life to some random guy I was supposed to be dancing with. While years of practice eventually got me over my balance issues, I could never get to the point of foot nirvana, where I could withstand the discomfort of wearing heels for an extended period of time. Even kitten heels were beginning to feel cumbersome like the time my boyfriend and I ended up on the wrong bus and I had to walk 7 long city blocks in these really horrible heeled cowboy boots to get to our destination. I tried soldiering on but after the third block, it literally hurt my entire foot to take a step. Eventually I kicked them puppies off and opted to walk carefully the rest of the blocks in my socks – much to the embarrassment of my then-boyfriend. But I rolled my eyes at him. The only reason why we were walking was because he didn’t have a car.
After a while heel spurs prevented me from wearing most heels and the kitten ones. At the same time, ballet shoes started making their appearance on runways and on the foot of celebrities at red carpet events. It wouldn’t be long before the style made it ways to malls and discount shoe warehouses, and only to the foot of the average girl about town. For once, it would seem, fashion had done something that I personally needed it to do for years: be stylish yet comfortable. These were not your mom-at-work-flats. The new generation of flatties had bows and ruffles; closed and peep-toed; pastel, neon, glimmered and zebra-print too. The style possibilities were endless. Combined with the right outfit, your flats now could go from casual-chic to playful to sexay. Pretty soon women started showing up at nightclubs and other evening events in flats.
Some economist believe we had the recession to blame for the period in which the catwalks of high fashion went main street. If that is true, than truly thank you George Walker Bush Jr. because finally there were some shoes I could not only walk for extended periods of time but damn near skip down the street in if I wanted too. I began to realize how little I walked prior to the popularity of the ballet shoe. Now, instead of rushing from car to seat-in-venue, I could actual enjoy the moments I had on my feet. In fact, in the most identical situation, one day I found myself having to walk almost ten blocks towards my destination after again getting off at the wrong bus stop. This time, however, I had on a cute little pair of snakeskin pointy-toed flats, which meant that I was free from the time restraints that my heels would give my pumps. Not only was walking those blocks a breeze but I actually stopped a few times to do some window shopping and take in the sights and sounds of my journey along the way. For me, the flats era of shoe fashion were about options.
As I went shoe shopping this weekend, I noticed that the selections of ballet shoes and other flat heels are not as plentiful and diverse in style as they were last Spring. The rise of platform pumps and sneakers has repositioned the heel back to its rightful place at the top of the shoe hierarchy. Just out of curiosity, I tried on a pair of those platform heels. They were a pair of mean black leather with five inches of heel and metal spikes along the back. All this working out I have doing has basically ended all my heel spurs, perhaps it brought some heel-tolerance back to my feet again. Immediately after putting them on, I started casing the department store for all available seating like they were emergency exits. I thought about it and then I wrapped them up, put them back in the box and handed them back to the sale man. Flats had certainly spoiled me. And as sexay and sophisticated as they looked on my foot I didn’t have the same desire to put on airs about what I thought being a woman meant. Now I am a woman. And my shoe styles will only serve are reflection of that: stylish, comfortable and free from unnecessary pain.
I didn’t watch the Golden Globes over the weekend. But if I knew how entertaining they were going to be… I was just about to lie; I still probably wouldn’t have watched them. But anyway, on Monday when clips of the most memorable moments from the show were being played, I noticed that there was a clip of Girls creator Lena Dunham hobbling up the stairs and across the stage to accept her award. As my coworkers and I watched the painful footage, someone mentioned something about the matronly nature of her dress; but all I could think about was her walk. No bueno.
I shook my head, knowing that the dress and certainly the shoes were just not Lena’s style. And not because I would argue heels aren’t her thing– but because if you’re visibly uncomfortable and uncoordinated in a shoe, then it’s not for you.
Aaah but as I write about Lena Dunham, I also speak to myself. As a woman who’s just over 5 feet, heels can seem like a necessity more than an accessory. When you’re as short as I am you don’t want to go to the club to be bumped and bruised as people, who can’t see you, try to move past you. So what’s the solution? Throw on some heels. Yes my toes will be a little numb by the end of the night but at least that way I can be at least shoulder level with most patrons, even if I’m teetering the whole time.
Wearing heels for long stretcches–and maybe alcohol–is the reason we women have watched in horror or embarrassment as so many of our girlfriends, or we ourselves, have made contact with the sticky club floor or the unforgiving cement on our way home. Heels, unlike boots, are not made for walkin’.
And yet we still love them.
I remember the debate I got into with one of my male friends one night. We were on the subway one evening when we noticed a group of girls in short freak em dresses and high heels. He looked at them and sized them up before leaning over to suggest that women who step out in high heels were somehow desperate for attention, even at the expense of being unstable and therefore unsafe in case anything popped off.
Even though I can recall several instances where I almost busted my face open walking down cement steps in heels, I found myself getting very defensive. Because sure heels aren’t the best in a pinch but just because a woman chooses to wear them on a night out doesn’t mean she’s desperate. It means she wants to feel pretty. It means she doesn’t want to be the short one in her circle of friends. It means that she wants her freshly shaven legs to glisten when the street lights hit them. It means she wants to feel powerful. And yeah, she might even want to be noticed. I was defensive even though I knew and my feet confirmed that heels have never really been our friend. Instead heels are like that girl you call a friend who’s not so secretly jealous of you. You can’t stand her but you keep her around and always defend her because she’s fun and you need someone to hang out with on the weekends.
That’s probably what Lena told herself as she slid her feet into the $945, black, peep-toe Louboutin pump that had her wobbling last night. I want to feel pretty. I want to feel powerful and that’s what women are supposed to wear.
Honestly, for a lot of women, myself included, there’s a sense of unspoken shame about not being able to walk in heels. It’s somehow unladylike. A true lady knows how to not only walk but strut in heels. It’s a skill we’ve tried to master since childhood. Beyoncé brags about having her first pair at the age of 13. Men ask us to keep them on in the bedroom and shoes with no heels are often regarded as casual, dressed down. Comfort be damned.
I remember during my senior year of college, in my African Literature class, we read this book, Praisesong For The Widow. If you’re not familiar, basically it’s a book about Avey Johnson, a woman in her sixties, who has to disconnect from her pristine image and adherence to societal constraints in order to find her roots and discover who she really is. Several times throughout the novel, they make mention of Avey’s high heels and how when she’s wearing them, she’s really not herself, not really seeing and relating to the world as she should. “”Freed of the high-heels her body always felt restored to its proper axis.”
If you’re one of those women who is as comfortable in heels as you are barefoot, then by all means continue to do you boo. But for the rest of us, let’s not always give in to the pressure to wear heels just because we’re expected to. There’s nothing wrong with staying grounded every once in a while.
Heels have taken on many fashionable forms since the classic stiletto. But as heels continue to soar to new heights and most recent, vanish into thin air with the heelless shoe craze, there’s no doubt that taking major strides in any heel height can pose a serious challenge. There goes balance and comfort right out the window, a sacrifice we often don’t mind making for the love of fashion. But thank goodness our shoe prayers were answered and the fashion gods have given us chic stacked heels.
Now we can hit the pavement, take big steps and go the distance in style with some of today’s most fashionable chunky heel shoes…
Heels, heels, heels..we love them! There is something about great legs in stilletos that has us talking more on the street. The average (red, black, or brown) pair is easily susceptible to conversation, late night dinners or a fine gentlemen’s interests. They are infinitely one of the most desirable pieces in the closet (not including the diamonds and pearls). Yet, the reasons we love them doesn’t give justice to how we feel about them. They’re sophisticated, feminine and Hot! But the three, four, and five-inch heels we signed up for, may no longer be the tallest ones on the market. Fashion designers are creating the new and improved pair for women to squeeze into these days. Try seven, eight, and nine inches!
If you think you can handle any size, then take a look at these insanely crafted heels…