Leadership (Abuja)

16 February 2013

Nigeria: Ladies Beware! High Heels Could Damage Your Feet

analysis

Ladies wear high heels for different reasons - to boost their confidence, to make their legs look longer and sexier, and probably also to make some look more stylish. However, going by a recent study, wearing high heels is being blamed for feet damage, one of which is flat feet - a condition that leaves the inside of the foot flattened, allowing the entire foot to touch the floor when standing up. Raliat Ahmed-Yusuf writes.

High- heeled shoes are one of the most popular types of shoe worn all over the world. They have the ability of making one look taller, which can be advantageous for people that are not tall. But there are several problems associated with high heels, such as flat feet, according to a recent study.

Scientists claim that high heels are the reason women are more likely to develop the agonizing condition (flat feet) than men. And they also state that the risk is increased further if they spend a lot of time standing up.

The scientists, who just concluded the study, believe that flat feet come about when tendons in the feet are weakened by proteins that occur naturally in the body, causing the arch of the foot to fall, and in turn, leading to excruciating pain and difficulties in walking.

Being higher off the ground than usual can be interesting, but falling from a height is much more painful. High heels often cause a lot of accidental falls, particularly when walking on a slippery surface or under the influence of alcohol.

According to the study, the common and usually painless condition is more common in women over 40, but it may also run in families and many sufferers born with it. In other cases, flat feet may be caused by an injury or wearing of high-heeled shoes, because in some cases, they usually do not properly support the feet, causing the tendons to weaken. Women who wear heels are particularly at risk if they spend large chunks of the day standing up.

High heels alter posture and increase pressure on the ball of the foot. Repeated wear is already known to strain the hips, knees and thighs, as well as increasing the risk of conditions such as osteoarthritis, hammer toe, back problems, bunions and corns.

Dr. Adeyemi Ajibade, an orthopedic surgeon, explains that "the damage that high heels can cause to the bone structure is drastic, because without the right position while walking in heels apart from looking odd, they damage the spine and knees." It is also easy to get ankle injuries, hammertoe or bunions when people don't wear comfortable shoes, he says.

The medical practitioner further explains how flat feet are developed as a result of wearing high- heeled shoes. "While wearing heels, the weight is redistributed, forcing the whole body weight on the balls of the feet and causing pinching pain."

He also warned that if the pain is ignored, by assuming it would go away in no time, one might end up with metatarsalgia, a common problem that comes from the pain of joints and bones in the metatarsal. Also, knee joint pain increases with 26 per cent, while wearing heels, and this only increases, depending on how high the heels are, he adds.

Also, Mrs. Becky Adams, a beautician, says: "These days, high-heeled shoes have a special place in our society, because almost every lady loves to have one. This type of shoes, no doubt, is a fashionable accessory that has become an important part of today's modern woman's day-to-day lifestyle. However, wearing high heels has its disadvantages, which are very clear."

High-heeled shoes might help the wearer look very fashionable and trendy, even when they may not be the best for the feet, as they can cause grave damage to the body. The wearers may feel uncomfortable after standing for long in high-heeled shoes, and experience pain and discomfort at the time of taking them off at the end of the day.

Even with the disadvantages of wearing high-heeled shoes, it won't stop women from wearing it. However, the wearers can take effective measures to the feet by bringing a comfortable shoe with them; this way, they can freely change their shoes.

With high heels, it is hard to keep balance, which is a bad point about the design; unlike flat shoes that you can possibly regain your balance after a stumble. The impact of trying to regain footing suddenly in high heel is concentrated in a single point; meaning falling or twisting the ankle becomes much more likely. This is also what causes many people to snap heels off, as the heels can't stand the sudden pressure of someone falling onto them.

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