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Study warns against wearing high heels



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SALT LAKE CITY -- A new study confirms what many women may already suspect: high heels not only cause foot pain, they may actually create permanent damage. But there are ways you can stay safe without giving up heels.

"I like them, you know? They give me a little bit of height," Francia Clark said.

Jamie Naylor told KSL News, "I think they look better, honestly."

"They make my legs look great. They're sexy," Lee Broadhead said.

High heels may look great, but the evidence is stacked against them. Researchers with the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society found a direct correlation: the higher the heel, the higher strain and pain on the foot.

"The higher the back of the heel -- 3 inches, 4 inches -- will transfer the load to the ball of the foot," explained podiatrist Dr. Scott Clark. "That pressure can lead to changes, which can actually be a permanent problem."

The most common problems:

  • Nerve and bone deformities on the ball of the foot
  • Ankle sprains
  • Pain in the Achilles tendon
  • Bunions

"Oh, I have a little bit of those issues, but it's nothing to be worried about I don't think," Clark told us.

"Well, I have a hard time with it," Broadhead said. "I've been wearing heels all of my teen and adult life, and I have great feet."

The recommendation? Wear heels no higher than .8 inches.

"Oh, no. I am very loyal to heels, very loyal to heels," Naylor said. "Half of my shoes are heels."

"I tell patients anything below 2 inches is acceptable, or can be acceptable," Clark said.

Here are some other "happy mediums":

  • If you're going to wear heels, make sure they're plenty wide in the toe area
  • Wear padding on the ball of your foot
  • Consider going up a half size and inserting heel cups

For more information on the study from the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society, CLICK HERE.

E-mail: dwimmer@ksl.com

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Nadine Wimmer

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