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How Much Damage Do High Heels Actually Do to Our Bone Structure?

By Ann Butenas
 
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We love them because they look great. We love them because they make us look good. We love them because they are “oh so cute!” We love them because we believe the guys love them. Yes, I am talking about high heels here. They come in so many shapes, sizes, styles, and colors. They come in the form of stilettos and in comfortable pumps. Even when they don’t feel very comfortable, many of us still choose to wear them because one, they go perfectly with our new outfit and two, they make us look hot.

However, there can be a downside to this long-surviving fashion statement. I spoke with my podiatrist here in Kansas City to get his take on high heels. Dr. Michael Nicholas, DPM, of Podiatry Associates, is one of the leading podiatrists in the Kansas City area. He has been my podiatrist for years and has even surgically treated hammertoe problems and bunions on my feet. I am sure he would be delighted to know that it has literally been years since I have donned any form of heels. While I am not wearing my “grandma shoes” just yet, I do prefer shoes that aren’t nipping at my toes.

According to Dr. Nicholas, “High heels put the foot in an unnatural position, thereby creating abnormal pressures on the bones and soft tissues. Most women in their 20s and 30s can get by without symptoms, but the damage is spread out over a long period of time.”

He went on to explain that typically women in their 50s tend to favor the proverbial comfortable footwear over high heels. In fact, he noted that if you were to inquire of most women exactly how comfortable high heels are, many would claim that, no, they are not comfortable, but aren’t they just so cute?

In short, he believes that high heels are not good for the function of the foot, but they are not harmful when worn for short periods of time. So, here I stand, in front of my mirror, admiring my sexy high heels from days gone by. Five minutes later, I take them off. “That’s enough for today. Now, where are those flip flops? With a good pedicure and some cute nail polish, I can still pull of sexy, right?” (And I won’t fall flat on my face in doing so, either. I’m not good on stilts!)

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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