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The health risks of high heels

I've mentioned before that I rarely wear flat shoes. Even two pregnancies couldn't get me to abandon my heels: I pulled on a pair of Skechers before heading to the hospital to deliver my daughters, but I can't remember reaching for them before that. (I considered this a sort of badge of honor at the time; in retrospect it was probably pretty foolish.)

A few studies have shown that wearing high heels may lead to pain and knee and joint problems, but as Gretchen Reynolds writes on Well today, whether these shoes "affect the wearer’s biomechanics and injury risk has received scant scientific attention." In her piece, she discusses a new Australian study that found wearing heels "may compromise muscle efficiency in walking" and may increase the likelihood of strain injuries. And she offers advice from Neil J. Cronin, PhD, the researcher who led the work, for readers who can't kick (sorry, couldn't resist) their heel habit:

So, if you do wear heels and are at all concerned about muscle and joint strains, his advice is simple. Try, if possible, to ease back a bit on the towering footwear, he says. Wear high heels maybe “once or twice a week,” he says. And if that’s not practical or desirable, “try to remove the heels whenever possible, such as when you’re sitting at your desk.” The shoes can remain alluring, even nestled beside your feet.

Previously: Do pretty shoes lead to ugly problems?, Study links high heels to osteoarthritis and joint problems and Ouch! How high heels can shrink leg muscle, cause pain
Photo by NessieNoodle

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