All ‘heel’ the Queen

Kendra Harvey, Managing Editor

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Cinderella lost her shoe as she fled the ball, possibly because wearing heels made it impossible for her to run due to the pain in her feet, illustrating even princesses-to-be can experience negative effects in their feet when they wear heels.
Although popular for footwear, wearing heels can negatively affect the foot structure, ankle and posture, causing pain and possible long-term damage which may require surgery.
“Anything over two inches will force a woman’s weight to go over her forefoot as opposed to her rearfoot,” Dr. Mark Co, a podiatric physician and surgeon, said. “When women wear high heels, the smaller forefoot bones are now bearing the weight of the body as opposed to the larger rearfoot bones that are designed to carry more weight.”
Wearing heels daily forces the foot to adapt to being arched and eventually the foot will be unable to contract into the position of a flat shoe.
“If you wear heels all the time, your foot gets used to being in a pointed position and your calf muscle and Achilles tendon get tighter,” Co said.  “Subsequently, when you go barefoot or wear a flat shoe, since you are used to a pointed position, it puts more pressure onto the forefoot.”
Despite knowing the consequences, 39 percent of women say they wear heels on a daily basis as a fashion statement, according to the American Podiatric Medical Association. High school girls, despite enduring pain, continue to wear shoes ranging from pumps to platforms to wedges at school dances, according to freshman Edna Tesfaye.
“I have knee problems, so I am not necessarily supposed to wear them,” Tesfaye said about wearing heels to dances. “I still wear them since I feel short around my friends, to feel taller.”
Certain styles of dance may require dancers to wear heels, according to junior Catherine Heinen, who takes dance classes at Star Dance Studio.
“For my salsa dance class, we wear 2 1/2 to 3-inch heels,” Heinen said. “It’s harder, but it pays off since we have to focus on staying in relevé (lifting of the heel off the ground) and keeping ourselves upright when we dance. Usually, only the ball of my foot hurts the most, but only for a little while.”
Wearing heels affects the bones in the base of the foot and causes greater harm to areas of previous injury.
“Wearing heels can result in tight calves,” Co said. “Tight calves can make any problem in the foot worse. Tight calves can create conditions such as plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, stress fractures, and can make conditions such as bunions and hammertoes worse.”
Any woman with a preexisting bunion, a painful bump on the joint next to the big toe that forces that toe to bend towards the other toes, is not advised to wear heels since they will continue to cause damage, according to Co. Yet many women still choose to wear heels after feeling bunion pain.
“Heels definitely have a certain aesthetic and are an icon of femininity,” Co said. “They’re a way to express female attractiveness and power. From a psychological perspective, it makes a lot of sense why women would wear heels and why they become part of their identity.”
“I think heels can be a fashion statement,” Heinen said. “There’s a lot of creativity in what heels can look like with colors and styles. I think wearing heels now and then is good, but they should be more for special events for looking bold.”
The foot pain can be managed, but if pain continues, women should see a podiatrist so the foot doesn’t receive further damage.
“There you can get examined to see whether you need to make changes to your shoes,” Co said.

Kendra Harvey
Video editor

The bones in the foot are restricted in the heel, which causes the center of balance to shift forward and up. This can cause knee complications along with discomfort in the arch of the foot.

The bones in the foot are restricted in the heel, which causes the center of balance to shift forward and up. This can cause knee complications along with discomfort in the arch of the foot.

Cinderella lost her shoe as she fled the ball, possibly because wearing heels made it impossible for her to run due to the pain in her feet, illustrating even princesses-to-be can experience negative effects in their feet when they wear heels.

Although popular for footwear, wearing heels can negatively affect the foot structure, ankle and posture, causing pain and possible long-term damage which may require surgery.

“Anything over two inches will force a woman’s weight to go over her forefoot as opposed to her rearfoot,” Dr. Mark Co, a podiatric physician and surgeon, said. “When women wear high heels, the smaller forefoot bones are now bearing the weight of the body as opposed to the larger rearfoot bones that are designed to carry more weight.”

Wearing heels daily forces the foot to adapt to being arched and eventually the foot will be unable to contract into the position of a flat shoe.

“If you wear heels all the time, your foot gets used to being in a pointed position and your calf muscle and Achilles tendon get tighter,” Co said.  “Subsequently, when you go barefoot or wear a flat shoe, since you are used to a pointed position, it puts more pressure onto the forefoot.”

Despite knowing the consequences, 39 percent of women say they wear heels on a daily basis as a fashion statement, according to the American Podiatric Medical Association. High school girls, despite enduring pain, continue to wear shoes ranging from pumps to platforms to wedges at school dances, according to freshman Edna Tesfaye.

“I have knee problems, so I am not necessarily supposed to wear them,” Tesfaye said about wearing heels to dances. “I still wear them since I feel short around my friends, to feel taller.”

Certain styles of dance may require dancers to wear heels, according to junior Catherine Heinen, who takes dance classes at Star Dance Studio.

“For my salsa dance class, we wear 2 1/2 to 3-inch heels,” Heinen said. “It’s harder, but it pays off since we have to focus on staying in relevé (lifting of the heel off the ground) and keeping ourselves upright when we dance. Usually, only the ball of my foot hurts the most, but only for a little while.”

Wearing heels affects the bones in the base of the foot and causes greater harm to areas of previous injury.

“Wearing heels can result in tight calves,” Co said. “Tight calves can make any problem in the foot worse. Tight calves can create conditions such as plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, stress fractures, and can make conditions such as bunions and hammertoes worse.”

Any woman with a preexisting bunion, a painful bump on the joint next to the big toe that forces that toe to bend towards the other toes, is not advised to wear heels since they will continue to cause damage, according to Co. Yet many women still choose to wear heels after feeling bunion pain.

“Heels definitely have a certain aesthetic and are an icon of femininity,” Co said. “They’re a way to express female attractiveness and power. From a psychological perspective, it makes a lot of sense why women would wear heels and why they become part of their identity.”

“I think heels can be a fashion statement,” Heinen said. “There’s a lot of creativity in what heels can look like with colors and styles. I think wearing heels now and then is good, but they should be more for special events for looking bold.”

The foot pain can be managed, but if pain continues, women should see a podiatrist so the foot doesn’t receive further damage.

“There you can get examined to see whether you need to make changes to your shoes,” Co said.

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