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Are High Heels Unhealthful

Lifestyle.com—June 2, 2011

If you've browsed a shoe department lately, you may have noticed that high heels are growing—and not just in popularity. Towering platforms, extreme wedges, and treacherous stilettos have flooded the marketplace in recent months, and most every designer and celebrity seems to be doing their part to participate in the trend.

So why the sudden footwear rise? Experts say the recession is to blame: "We have entered a moment of heightened impracticality in footwear," says Elizabeth Semmelhack, author of "Heights of Fashion: A History of the Elevated Shoe".

"Heel heights noticeably grew during the Great Depression of the 1930s, the oil crisis in the 1970s, and when the dotcom bubble burst in the 2000s." Women's shoes are now at an all-time high, and Semmelhack believes during tough economic times, there's "a greater need for escapism."

However, this escapism isn't without its hazards.

Popular Manhattan podiatrist Dr. Rock Positano, Director of the Non-surgical Foot and Ankle Center at Hospital for Special Surgery, agrees, "We are seeing a dramatic increase in problems of this nature that are directly related to abnormal or altered foot and ankle mechanics." Those five-inch stilettos look so beautiful on their plain white pedestal in the store window. You know exactly what dress they’d be perfect for, but what you don't know might hurt you. Sprains, foot aches, blisters, ankle injuries, hammertoes and other long term damage can be caused by wearing shoes with heels that are too high. Podiatrists say wearing high-heeled shoes puts too much pressure on the balls of your feet and your lower back. Calluses and corns are the least of a stiletto-wearing fashionista's problems. Constant pressure on the feet can result in the thickening of tissue around the nerves in toes and cause pain, stinging and numbness in the toes. The taller the heel is the greater the risk of injury.

This story originally appeared at lifestyle.com.


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