Monday, April 11, 2011

High heels may alter anatomy and pose health risks

High heels help women to look and feel gorgeous, but new research warns of long-term health risks associated with wearing high heels.

Researchers from the Institute for Biomedical Research into Human Movement and Health, Manchester Metropolitan University, U.K., recently published an article in the Journal of Experimental Biology concluding that long-term use of high-heeled shoes induces shortening of the Gastrocnemius medialis (calf) muscle and increases Achilles tendon stiffness, reducing the ankle's active range of motion.

The incline of high heels causes the calf muscles to contract. Over time, the muscle fibers shorten and the Achilles tendon thickens, so much that women may feel pain when they try to walk in flats or sneakers. In addition to the shortening of the calf muscle and stiffening of the ankle, aching feet and a variety of foot deformities are possible.

The bottom line is that if you must wear heels, minimize the time you spend wearing and walking in them. Make sure you spend plenty of time in comfortable, supportive flat shoes with good arch support.

For more information on foot health, visit the American Podiatric Medical Association, and visit for further coverage.

Read an abstract of the article here.

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