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They look good, but are those heels worth it?

By January 27, 2015 Fitness No Comments
Killer heels

Women should think twice before buying their next pair of high-heels or pumps, according to researchers at the Institute for Aging Research of Hebrew Senior Life in a new study of older adults and foot problems.

The researchers found that the types of shoes women wear, specifically high-heels, pumps and sandals, may cause future hind-foot (heel and ankle) pain. Nearly 64 percent of women who reported hind-foot pain regularly wore these types of shoes at some point in their life.

“We found an increased risk of hind-foot pain among women who wore shoes, such as high-heels or pumps, that lack support and sound structure,” says lead author Alyssa B. Dufour, a graduate student in the Institute’s Musculoskeletal Research Program.

Women are more likely than men to have foot pain; however, it is not known if this is due to a higher prevalence of foot deformities, underlying disease, shoe wear, or other lifestyle choices.

When we walk, a significant biomechanical shock is delivered to the foot each time our heel strikes the ground. “Good” shoes, such as sneakers and other athletic footwear, often have soles and other features that soften this shock and protect the foot. The heel and ankle take the brunt of this shock, which may be why women who wear high-heeled shoes often report pain in this part of the foot.

“Young women,” says Ms. Dufour, “should make careful choices regarding their shoe types in order to potentially avoid hind-foot pain later in life.”

How to prevent pain

  • Comfort—rather than style or fashion—should rule shoe selection.
  • Judge shoes by how they fit, not by the size marked on the box; shoe sizes vary by brand and style.
  • Have both feet measured when you purchase shoes; foot size increases with age.
  • Fit shoes to your longest foot; most people have one foot that is larger than the other.
  • Avoid high-heels and shoes with pointed or tapered toes.
  • Fit shoes at the end of the day when your feet are their longest.
  • Try on both shoes and walk a few steps to make sure they are comfortable.
  • When the shoes are on, wiggle your toes to ensure that you can move them freely.

Ms. Dufour says to keep in mind this basic principle: your shoes should conform to the shape of your foot—your feet should never conform to the shape of your shoes.

Source: Hebrew SeniorLife Institute for Aging Research via ScienceDaily