Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Killer High Heels

An ergonomic nightmare - high heels ...

"Today’s topic is high heeled shoes. Why do women wear the damned things, I sometimes wonder. Those women wobble around, they take longer to get from here to there, they often trip on small sidewalk imperfections, and they regularly fall and get hurt.

I will confess: my gut reaction is that a woman’s IQ relates inversely to whether that woman tends to wear accident-inducing high heeled shoes. I think of women who flock to such shoes as women who aspire to become Barbies or Princesses. Before you write a comment to protest, I realize that my gut feeling is a gross over-simplification. I also have an analogous gut feeling with regard to men (who aspire to higher forms of masculinity) by rushing to engage in dangerous activities such as motocross or hang-gliding

I’ll start things off with the downside to dangerous and uncomfortable high heel shoes. It has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt that wearing high heel shoes contribute to numerous serious injuries. Here’s a list of high heel shoe-related injuries published by the Mayo Clinic:

• Corns and calluses. Thick, hardened layers of skin develop in areas of friction between your shoe and your foot. . . .
• Toenail problems. Constant pressure on your toes and nail beds from being forced against the front of your shoe by a high heel can lead to nail fungus and ingrown toenails.
• Hammertoe. When your toes are forced against the front of your shoe, an unnatural bending of your toes results. This can lead to hammertoe . . .
• Bunions. Tight fitting shoes may worsen bunions — bony bumps that form on the joint at the base of your big toe. . . .
• Tight heel cords. If you wear high heels all the time, you risk tightening and shortening your Achilles tendon. . .
• Pump bump. Also known as Haglund’s deformity, this bony enlargement on the back of your heel can become aggravated by the rigid backs or straps of high heels. . .
• Neuromas. A growth of nerve tissue. . .A neuroma causes sharp, burning pain in the ball of your foot accompanied by stinging or numbness in your toes.
• Joint pain in the ball of the foot . . . This causes increased pressure, strain and pain in your forefoot. Shoes with tightfitting toe boxes can lead to similar discomfort.
• Stress fractures. Tiny cracks in one of the bones of your foot.

High heels have also been linked to overworked or injured leg muscles, osteoarthritis of the knee and low back pain. You also risk ankle injuries if you lose your balance and fall off your high heels. See here. High heels can even be dangerous, resulting in trips to the emergency room."    (Continued via Dangerous Intersection)    [Ergonomics Resources]

8 inch High Heels - Ergonomics

8 inch High Heels

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2 Comments:

Blogger minxlj said...

8 inch high heels, you have a point. They look ridiculous, they're only worn by strippers and drag queens (both generally have extraordinary leg strength btw) and no-one else can possibly hope to walk in them.

But your average 3.5-4inch heel? Please! They're easy to walk in! Anyone with bad posture doesn't walk properly. Bad back, you don't walk properly, and therefore can't balance properly. Thus, you shouldn't wear high heels if you're not able to.

But if I can wear 4inch high heels properly, and have never fallen off or because of them in the 12 years I've worn them (I'm 28), then anyone can.
Pay attention, make sure that your posture is correct, you're not overbalanced by 36HH plastic boobs or a 300-pound handbag, and you'll be fine. Be realistic and don't wear them 16 hrs a day every day, look after your feet (and your back!) Oh, and don't wear cheap shoes - a good handcrafted shoe is made with posture and comfort in mind. £20 eBay street-market rubbish is not.

The truth is, women wear heels because they lengthen the leg, highlight the muscles in the calves and thigh and leading the eye upwards - thus making them look (and feel) sexier. Short dumpy legs take on a completely different shape when heels are worn. (And seriously, flat shoes with evening wear just looks ridiculous)

The problem is in the heel TIP of the actual shoe - not the IQ of the girl wearing them, thank you. A stiletto has a super-tiny 'footprint' and therefore a small margin of error to slip on. A thicker heel has much more contact area with the ground and is more stable to walk on.

9:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My friend is forced to wear high heals at work standing up for 8 hours a day and has nothing to do with her IQ. What can be done about that?

Also, ever notice that "ergonomic" shoes looks ridiculous? When will high quality shoe makers actually make a shoe that looks fashionable instead of a techno-running-parody of TRON?

8:50 AM  

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