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High-heel Hell: High heels can be murder on feet, but some women can't kick the habit
journal times ^ | 8/24/05 | Dawn Fallik

Posted on 09/06/2005 6:41:12 AM PDT by pissant

Dawn Joslin's feet hurt so much last week that she wore sneakers to work for the first time. But there she was at lunchtime, despite corns, bunions and three major foot surgeries, sitting at Lord & Taylor's trying on high-heeled slingbacks.

Would they hurt her feet? Yes. Would she wear them anyway? Of course.

"I just like the look of them," says the 50-year-old comptroller. "I used to wear the stilettos, but gave those up in my 30s. No doctor has ever told me not to wear heels."

Blame Sarah Jessica Parker's Carrie Bradshaw and her Manolo Blahnik obsession (and her ability to run in the four-inch nightmares). Despite an excess of anatomically correct, cushioned-soled support, women won't be separated from their power spikes and pointy toes. Some are demanding cosmetic surgery - cutting off some toes and lengthening others - to make their shoes fit.

"Even though we have this incredible choice - sophisticated flats, and Prada sneakers that can cost as much as a pair of Manolo Blahniks, it's interesting that women continue to wear high heels," said Elizabeth Semmelhack, curator of the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto.

"High heels bring status and sex appeal, and that's why they're not going to go away."

Under pressure An estimated 72 percent of women wear high heels - 39 percent on a daily basis, according to the American Podiatric Medical Association - and they are paying for their addiction with bad backs, sore knees and aching feet.

"About 90 percent of my patients are women between the ages of 25 and 65 with foot pain from heels," says Joseph N. Daniel, an orthopedic surgeon at Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia. Most of them wear shoes at least a size too small and so pointy that toes jam and blister and bunion.

Three issues contribute to podiatric pain: support, pressure and space.

Completely flat shoes can fail to cushion heels or give arch support. High-heels shorten the calf muscle, which pulls on the lower back. Pizza shapes squish and rub toes.

At the Sheer Gait and Motion Analysis Lab at MossRehab Center in Elkins Park, Pa., Daniel often sends problem patients for gait analysis and pressure tests. Sensors are placed in their shoes, and then they take a slow 10-step stroll to the end of a runway.

The sensors show movement, pronation (leaning to one side or the other), and pressure placed on the soles.

As a tester walks on her 3-inch rubber-soled platforms, a multicolored image on a computer screen shows the red disaster zone - a circle of potential pain appears right on the ball of the foot. The red areas reflect the centers of highest pressure on the foot at 6 kilograms of pressure per square inch, compared with 2 kilograms at the rest of the foot.

Another walk down the aisle in a sensible shoe and there's not a splash of red in sight. The rocker bottom - low in the front and back, higher in the middle - and thick sole spread the pressure away from any particular area of the foot.

Doctors use the data to detect where problems are happening, to create special insoles for problem feet, or ward off problems that could arise.

But Daniel says he rarely tells patients to stay off the heels altogether. Moderation, he says - once or twice a week - is fine. Every day running around, not so much.

`Toe cleavage' The problem is that women these days are starting to ask doctors to fix their feet - not to correct problems caused by the shoes but to make their feet match their shoes.

"About three years ago, maybe 20 women called me for cosmetic surgery for their feet, and now I get about 150 calls a year," says Daniel. "There's just a greater awareness of their bodies and people are striving to achieve perfection from head to toe."

In some cases, women are actually having their toes, particularly the second toe, shortened so as to enhance their "toe cleavage."

Talena Johnson was in her podiatrist's office to treat an infection from a pedicure when she saw a picture of her feet, and didn't like the view.

"My second toe just looked bad," said the 34-year-old receptionist. "So they just made an incision and filed it down."

It took about a month to heal, and she had to wear a decidedly unsexy boot during the process.

Sean Ravaei, a Philadelphia podiatrist who performs cosmetic foot surgeries, said he's received 20 calls from high schoolers, just wanting to have perfect feet for the prom.

"They want toe-lengthening, toe-shortening, they want their foot wider or narrower - you'd be surprised at what people ask," he said.

Several other podiatrists and surgeons said they would not perform cosmetic surgery on feet because of the risk of complications with the 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments and 19 muscles that make up the foot.

"I'm completely against cosmetic surgery on feet," said Tracey Vlahovic, a podiatrist at Temple University. "The foot takes all your weight and there's a precise biomechanical action that takes place."

One of the latest fads is to have collagen injections at the ball of the foot to replace fat pads worn away by age or the pressure by heels. But friction due to walking can make the material slide where it shouldn't and break down.

"If you mess up a nose job, it just looks bad. But if something goes wrong with foot surgery, there can be severe pain and injury," Vlahovic said. A former ballroom dancer who now lives in Birkenstocks and Masai Barefoot Technology shoes, she suffers from the hours spent dancing in heels.

Ravaei said he makes sure patients understand the risks - but he also understands where they're coming from.

"I'm very much into my looks myself," he said. "I have problems with my own feet and I have to wear shoes that are a little more cushioned."

By the numbers * About 73 percent of women say they have physical problems because of high heels.

* The number of women who wear high heels daily has decreased from 60 percent in 1986 to 39 percent in 2003.

* 44 percent of women own four to 10 pairs of high heels.

* Younger women are more likely to have blisters and arch pain. Older women have corns, calluses and bunions.

* Most women (62 percent) wear heels two inches or higher.

* Most women (73 percent) have never had their shoe size measured.


TOPICS: Business/Economy
KEYWORDS: feet; fmp; shoes
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It's only the look that matters, ladies!!


1 posted on 09/06/2005 6:41:12 AM PDT by pissant
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To: pissant

Personally, I prefer my pretty feet to stilettos.


2 posted on 09/06/2005 6:48:08 AM PDT by peacebaby (Let's give them something to talk about. A little mystery to figure out.)
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To: pissant
I wear heels and yes

by the end of the day...I'm paying

for it (hubby has to rub my feet for an hour at night afterwards) ...but it's true

they look so nice and really

make tanned summer legs look striking....

when my CEO and I have a major meeting

I always try and wear them.
3 posted on 09/06/2005 6:49:42 AM PDT by PaulaB (I'm not a blonde!! I'm knot! I'm knot! I'm knot!)
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To: peacebaby

I knew I liked you! LOL


4 posted on 09/06/2005 6:52:58 AM PDT by pissant
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To: PaulaB

Smart girl! LOL. They certainly are appreciated from the male side of the equation!


5 posted on 09/06/2005 6:54:26 AM PDT by pissant
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To: pissant
Most women (73 percent) have never had their shoe size measured.

I suspect that might be a significant part of the problem - wearing shoes that are too small for reasons of vanity. The height of the heel might be less of an issue than the "squash factor" affecting the toes. ;)

6 posted on 09/06/2005 6:55:50 AM PDT by Mr. Jeeves ("Violence never settles anything." Genghis Khan, 1162-1227)
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To: pissant

Well, I know it's kinky to wear stilettos in bed, but I'd rather have my bare feet caressed!


7 posted on 09/06/2005 6:56:04 AM PDT by peacebaby (Let's give them something to talk about. A little mystery to figure out.)
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To: Mr. Jeeves

Maybe they need to bind their feet like the chinese! ;o)


8 posted on 09/06/2005 6:56:37 AM PDT by pissant
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To: peacebaby

Afterwards, Peacebaby! ;o)


9 posted on 09/06/2005 6:57:08 AM PDT by pissant
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To: PaulaB

PaulaB, do you wear pumps or sandals?

I'll wear 2 1/2 inch heels on appropriate occasions, but the shoes absolutely have to fit.


10 posted on 09/06/2005 6:57:23 AM PDT by peacebaby (Let's give them something to talk about. A little mystery to figure out.)
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To: Mr. Jeeves
The height of the heel might be less of an issue than the "squash factor" affecting the toes. ;)

It's a little of both. The heel height throws your back, pelvis, and legs out of alignment, and also forces your toes frontward and mashes them into the toe box or off the end (if sandals. I need shoes about 1/2 size bigger for every 1 1/2" of heel, so 3" heel shoes need to be 1 size bigger for me.

Considering that I'm already 5'10", with feet to match, I'm a little scary wearing 3" heels :lol: .

Most of the time I wear flats, but will wear heels if I'm dressing up, like for weddings. But if I start dancing, the shoes come OFF.

LQ

11 posted on 09/06/2005 7:01:06 AM PDT by LizardQueen (The world is not out to get you, except in the sense that the world is out to get everyone.)
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To: peacebaby
pumps...no sandals


I have a pair 2 1/2 myself

that are AWESOME!!! Every time

I wear them I get compliments ;)

but usually I try to keep it to 1 or 2 inches

that fit well...can't be to tight or to loose
12 posted on 09/06/2005 7:06:09 AM PDT by PaulaB (I'm not a blonde!! I'm knot! I'm knot! I'm knot!)
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To: pissant

I only own one pair of heels, and I have worn them only twice. Both times were to weddings and my feet were killing me afterwards. I wore flats at my own wedding. Not only are heels very uncomfortable, but I also have great difficulty walking in them, due to a slight orthopedic problem I have. Heels look very nice to be sure, but I don't think they're worth the pain and inconvenience. Leave it to a bunch of gay male fashion designers to come up with something so uncomfortable for women.


13 posted on 09/06/2005 7:38:24 AM PDT by sassbox
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To: sassbox
Leave it to a bunch of gay male fashion designers to come up with something so uncomfortable for women

**LOL** no doubt ;)
14 posted on 09/06/2005 7:40:08 AM PDT by PaulaB
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To: pissant
Look out fellows! Millee's steppin out to party!!


(Support hose not included)

15 posted on 09/06/2005 7:55:03 AM PDT by Millee (Earth First! We'll log the other planets later!)
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To: sassbox
I wore flats at my own wedding.

LOL! I wore one-inch heels (pumps, white leather) and told the minister that if he preached for more than five minutes, I was taking my shoes off in front of God and everybody!

16 posted on 09/06/2005 7:57:53 AM PDT by Tax-chick (How often lofty talk is used to deny others the same rights one claims for oneself. ~ Sowell)
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To: pissant

I'm so uncoordinated!

I don't trust myself in high heels.


17 posted on 09/06/2005 8:12:17 AM PDT by baker_girl (You are all winners,except those of you who lose.)
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To: Hi Heels

I can't believe no one has pinged you to this thread yet.

SCR


18 posted on 09/06/2005 8:29:17 AM PDT by So Cal Rocket (Proud Member: Internet Pajama Wearers for Truth)
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To: sassbox

You need to wear them more often to get used to them. Kinda like a new pari of hiking boots, only sexier! ;o)


19 posted on 09/06/2005 8:35:20 AM PDT by pissant
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To: PaulaB; sassbox

It's not gay males who want to see you gals in 3" FMPs, let me assure ya! ;o)


20 posted on 09/06/2005 8:36:15 AM PDT by pissant
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To: Millee

Are those your husbands loafers? LOL


21 posted on 09/06/2005 8:36:39 AM PDT by pissant
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To: baker_girl

Practice at home first! ;o)


22 posted on 09/06/2005 8:37:16 AM PDT by pissant
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To: pissant

Personally I thing women pressure each other to wear these ankle breakers. I think if women collectively decided to stop wearing these things the typical male would respond "Uh, OK dear" and hardly notice.


23 posted on 09/06/2005 8:41:24 AM PDT by jalisco555 ("The right to bear weapons is the right to be free." A. E. Van Vogt)
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To: jalisco555

The pole dances would not be as good in flats though. ;o)


24 posted on 09/06/2005 8:43:19 AM PDT by pissant
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To: So Cal Rocket; pissant
'Specially Pissant!! Sheeeesh. Maybe he's mad at me....


25 posted on 09/06/2005 10:07:28 AM PDT by Hi Heels (Guns kill and cause crime? Dang, mine must be malfunctioning....)
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To: Hi Heels; LongElegantLegs

My sincerest apologies!!! I'm not mad, just senile! ;o)


26 posted on 09/06/2005 10:11:41 AM PDT by pissant
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To: pissant
I have legs already and I being a licensed massage therapist I know what happens to bodies that are forced into unnatural positions......it may look good now...but it will cost you something........Hi, Doc P....
27 posted on 09/06/2005 12:17:37 PM PDT by marmar (435th CASF Germany helping bring the Wounded Warriors home........)
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To: marmar

C'mon Marmar, not even for special occasions? ;o)


28 posted on 09/06/2005 12:29:11 PM PDT by pissant
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To: pissant
Hah! I've spent the last week and a half moving all my earthly goodies from one side of town to another, so don't talk to me about high heels! I'm barefoot, baby, and loving it.


29 posted on 09/06/2005 12:30:18 PM PDT by LongElegantLegs ("Nuthin' ain't worth nuthin', but it's free.")
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To: pissant
"VANITY KNOWS NO PAIN"

Found on the Great Pyramid

30 posted on 09/06/2005 12:32:44 PM PDT by Deb (Beat him, strip him and bring him to my tent!)
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To: PaulaB

I wear no less than 2 1/2" heels every day. There's a lot of kitten-heeled mules out there that feel like sandals but look really dressy.

I think my highest heels are 4 inches, but those are only 'going out' shoes and I have to know I'll be sitting alot.

I have short, stubby legs....I HAVE to wear heels to break even.


31 posted on 09/06/2005 12:33:13 PM PDT by najida (I run with scissors and I don't play well with others.)
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To: pissant

for me to know.........


32 posted on 09/06/2005 12:35:33 PM PDT by marmar (435th CASF Germany helping bring the Wounded Warriors home........)
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To: pissant

Give me my old flip flops any day. Waaaaay back in the 60's we wore "high" heels with pointed toes. I sit here today wondering HOW???? *~*


33 posted on 09/06/2005 12:40:02 PM PDT by Dawgreg (Happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have.)
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To: LongElegantLegs

I can smell those from here! ;o)


34 posted on 09/06/2005 12:55:37 PM PDT by pissant
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To: najida

You could always flats with shorter skirts...That works too. :-P


35 posted on 09/06/2005 12:56:02 PM PDT by LongElegantLegs ("Nuthin' ain't worth nuthin', but it's free.")
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To: Deb

Hey now, I remember a commercial years ago showing women playing basketball in high heels. Fondly, I might add. ;o)


36 posted on 09/06/2005 12:57:37 PM PDT by pissant
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To: marmar

Yes.....continue...


37 posted on 09/06/2005 12:58:06 PM PDT by pissant
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To: LongElegantLegs

No, seriously,
Above the knee ain't a good look for me,
but the heels are.

It works :)


38 posted on 09/06/2005 12:58:30 PM PDT by najida (I run with scissors and I don't play well with others.)
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To: Dawgreg

They are back in style, mercifully!


39 posted on 09/06/2005 12:58:41 PM PDT by pissant
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To: pissant

Makes my feet hurt just to look at em'.......sheesh!


40 posted on 09/06/2005 1:01:37 PM PDT by Dawgreg (Happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have.)
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To: pissant

if I tell you.......I will have to kill U....


41 posted on 09/06/2005 1:01:50 PM PDT by marmar (435th CASF Germany helping bring the Wounded Warriors home........)
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To: pissant

Still waters run deep........


42 posted on 09/06/2005 1:03:13 PM PDT by marmar (435th CASF Germany helping bring the Wounded Warriors home........)
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To: Dawgreg

LOL. Such is the lot of women!


43 posted on 09/06/2005 1:13:16 PM PDT by pissant
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To: marmar

Very funny. I'll pry your wild side out one of these days! ;o)


44 posted on 09/06/2005 1:13:48 PM PDT by pissant
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To: marmar

So say Confuscious?


45 posted on 09/06/2005 1:14:20 PM PDT by pissant
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To: pissant

Har har har; stop sniffing my feet and get me a beer.


46 posted on 09/06/2005 1:23:38 PM PDT by LongElegantLegs ("Nuthin' ain't worth nuthin', but it's free.")
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To: pissant
Either that or I'm dead......chuckle
47 posted on 09/06/2005 1:25:40 PM PDT by marmar (435 CASF..Ramstien Germany.....Bringing the Wounded Warriors Home....)
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To: LizardQueen

The Lovely Wife is 6' in her bare feet........in heels, easily 6' 3" +.

I'm all of 5' 8", tops.

Still love the look of those loooong legs in heels, gotta tell ya.


48 posted on 09/06/2005 1:28:13 PM PDT by RightOnline
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To: LongElegantLegs
LOL. I don't sniff feet!
49 posted on 09/06/2005 1:44:09 PM PDT by pissant
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To: marmar

Reincarnated?


50 posted on 09/06/2005 1:44:51 PM PDT by pissant
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