It’s not news that high heels can have long-lasting effects on women’s health. But, as Renée Reardin reports, a new study has more bad news for stiletto lovers.
A curly-haired, Manolo-loving city slicker once said, “The higher the heel, the better you feel.” And although a pair of stilettos with a 4-inch heel may do wonders for your self-confidence, over time they’ve been proven to wreak some serious havoc on your ankles.
Now, any woman who has ever worn heels doesn’t need science telling her they don’t do a body good (although our sore calf muscles suggest otherwise). But a new study by the International Journal of Clinical Practice suggests they’re even worse than we thought. Researchers at Hanseo University in South Korea recruited 40 collegiate women in good health, and asked them to wear shoes with various heel heights to their classes for four years. When the years were up, researchers tracked the health and stability of the participants’ ankles.
Findings showed women who wore shoes with about 4 inch heels or higher to their classes at least three times a week “developed an imbalance of four functional ankle muscles,” the report reads. At first, wearing high-heels appeared to strengthen ankle muscles, but it was found “prolonged use eventually caused an imbalance, which is a crucial predictor of ankle injury.”
Although we’re pretty sure the mere possibility of an ankle injury isn’t enough to deter you from wearing your Loubs, there’s something you can do to prevent further damage.
Dr. Yong-Seok Jee, co-author of the report, advises that high-heel lovers should regularly perform ankle strengthening exercises, such as “heel walking, toe tappers, and heel raises.” Dr. Jee also suggests that women limit the frequency of wearing high heels as a preventative measure. Because what’s more important, your long-term health or your ego? (Your call.)
We may just omit that last part, but at least we now know our favourite steppers aren’t going to do any more damage to us than they do to our wallets.
Will this study make you rethink wearing heels? Let us know in the comments below or at @ViewtheVibe.