High Heels = High Risk


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We've all been out over the weekends and seen the hundreds of girls walking around Beaver and College Avenue struggling to walk in their high heels.  Sometimes the shoes they are wearing look more like stilts or torture devices rather than shoes.  Regardless, high heels may be a popular clothing item for a Friday night here in State College, but do so many of those girls wearing heels out night after night know what harm those shoes are actually putting their feet in?  Probably not. 

A new study has shown that making poor decisions about footwear today can result in a high risk for foot problems in the future.  Researchers and doctors alike have concluded that high heels, sandals, and slippers are just some of the reasons why women are much more likely than men to have foot pain in their older years.  Each of these types of shoe is bad for the feet because of their lack of support for many different parts of the foot.    

During this study, published in Arthritis Care & Research, older participants were asked if they had pain, aching, or stiffness in one or both of their feet.  The participants also had to provide the researchers with information on what types of shoes they wore most frequently in their 20's, 30's, 40's 50's and so on.  The researchers categorized the types of shoes as follows:

"Good: low-risk shoes, such as athletic and casual sneakers

Average: mid-risk shoes, like hard- or rubber-soled shoes, special shoes, and work boots

Poor: high-risk footwear that don't have support or structure, such as high heels, sandals, and slippers" (http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/news/20090929/high-heels-today-foot-pain-tomorrow). 

The results showed that 19% of men and 29% of women were suffering with some type of foot pain.  However, it was proved that women who wore good shoes in the past were 67% less likely to report foot pain than those that wore average or poorly rated shoes.  Researcher Alyssa B. Dufour, of the Boston University School of Public Health stated, "While more research is needed, young women should make careful choices regarding their shoe type to avoid hindfoot pain later in life, or perform stretching exercises to alleviate the effect of high heels on foot pain." 

While it makes sense to me that choosing better shoes now will help your feet in the future, I thought that 67% is a huge difference that can be prevented with just a change in shoe type.  However, it also made me wonder how often the participants had worn bad shoes during those age periods listed.  If a woman had to wear heels in her office every day to work, would she be considered in the same amount of danger as a woman who wore heels to a holiday party every once in a while?  I personally feel like there needs to be more studies provided in order to conclude something more definitive.  Although I completely agree that more sensible shoe choices never hurt anyone in the long run. 

What do you think about this study?  Girls, do you think it will change your decision on what shoes to wear next time you go out?  Or do you think the foot pain will come regardless, and that beauty is pain?

Sources:

http://www.healthcommunities.com/foot-anatomy/foot-anatomy-overview.shtml

http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/news/20090929/high-heels-today-foot-pain-tomorrow

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