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Ouch! How high heels can shrink leg muscle, cause pain

I'm proud (though perhaps I should be embarrassed) of the fact that the only flats in my wardrobe are work-out shoes and flip-flops for the beach. I've always been a heel kind of girl; even during two pregnancies (and despite my mom's pleas), I just couldn't ditch the tall shoes.

I was particularly interested, then, in a new study on what regular heel-wearing does to the legs. As CNN reports today:

[The study] shows that regularly wearing high heels can cause muscle and tendon changes in your legs -- to the point where wearing flats or flip-flops can be painful.

Wearing two-inch heels (or higher) five or more days a week shrinks a woman's calf muscle fibers by 13 percent, on average. It also thickens her Achilles tendon -- which attaches the calf muscle to the heel -- by 22 percent, according to the study, which was published Thursday in the Journal of Experimental Biology.

These changes alter the resting position of the ankle, causing the foot to point down more than normal. For some habitual high-heel wearers, this can make switching from stilettos to flats a shock...

As pointed out in the article, the findings don't necessarily apply to everyone: The women in the study who experienced pain wore heels for an average of about 60 hours a week. The study also didn't focus on whether wearing heels can cause permanent damage to leg muscles. Still, the research may be enough to make me at least consider cutting back on the amount of time I spend in heels.

My mom's going to be thrilled!

Photo by Shorts and Longs | The Both And

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