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Nothing makes a female leg look better than a pair of really high heels. Okay, it’s sexy, too!

But at what price?

Few shoes affect the shape and function of the foot as drastically as high heels. According to a recent review of research about heels, walking in them can “alter the natural position of the foot-ankle complex and thereby reduce a chain reaction of effects that travel up the lower limb at least as far as the spine.”

Two of my fashionista clients who can rock a pair of stilettoes like nobody’s business, have had injuries: a broken bone in the foot after a fall…a high ankle sprain.

Wearing high heels the majority of the time will initially strengthen some of the muscles around the ankles, particularly those on the inside and outside of the joint. Over time, these very same muscles weaken along with the muscles along the front and back of the ankle. Balance is vastly worse in women who spend their life teetering on 4-6 inch heels. (This from a study done at Hanseo University in South Korea and reported in The International Journal of Clinical Practice.)

There are proprioceptive exercises one can do along with specific stretching and strengthening workouts for problems associated with wearing heels. Other actions women can take to lessen the problem are switching to flats during the week, taking your shoes off at your desk – even sitting in heels “can alter the resting length of the muscles and tendons around the ankle” according to Neil Cronin, a biology professor of physical activity at the University of Jyvaskyla in Finland – and definitely don’t run in the things…not only is that an inefficient way to move, but it creates high pressure due to the impact.

(Research by Gretchen Reynolds, The New York Times, July 7, 2015)

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