From Cinderella’s glass slippers to celebs walking down the red carpet and ramp, footwear is an important complement of clothing. Among various types of footwear, high-heel shoes are every fashionista’s favourite and their wardrobe is incomplete without ‘heels’ of various shapes and sizes. In fact, unless paired with stylish stilettos or other appropriate footwear, even the trendiest of dresses would fail to stand out.
Despite the fact that high heels make women appear taller and smarter and up their style quotient, such shoes come with a warning on health issues. From the risk of falling, ankle sprains and foot ache to spinal and musculoskeletal disorders, wearing high heels has its quota of disadvantages. Medical experts recommend wearing footwear either without heels or with minimal heels.
2-inch heels can boost your love life
Two inch heels give a woman’s pelvic floor muscles a workout, which can be beneficial to her sex life, scientists found
Interestingly though, researchers at Shanghai’s Fudan University have found that wearing two-inch heels help boost a woman’s love life by stimulating and toning the pelvic muscles, especially when worn for at least eight hours a day. They also found that two-inch heels reduce the risk of urinary issues and bladder leaks, as they help to strengthen the key muscles that control the bladder, beside sexual function. By analysing different shoe heights, it was found that women who wore either very high heels or opted for no-heels footwear, did not experience the same effect on their sex life.
Choosing the right shoe
Even though such studies have not been carried out in India, doctors here too recommend heels that are within two inches. Defining the thus-far-and-no-further factor when it comes to wearing heels, Dr G Shashi Kanth, senior orthopaedic and joint replacement surgeon, foot and ankle specialist, Yashoda Hospital, says, “Ideally, one should not go beyond two-inch heels. Pointed or pencil heels are best avoided. Also, depending on one’s foot condition, the right type of footwear should be selected.”
The foot consists of three portions – the forefoot, the midfoot and the hindfoot. “Flat footwear uniformly shares the pressure of the body, as the foot rests completely on the ground. But when one wears stilettos or pointed heels, the hindfoot is elevated. There is abnormal pressure on the forefoot and midfoot. Long-time continuous usage of pointed high heels can lead to secondary changes in the spine, causing backache. Though chunky block heels or wedges are better than pencil heels, these too are best avoided if one feels discomfort,” says the doctor.
Best & Worst Shoes
Describing the most appropriate shoes for various foot conditions and occasions, Dr Shashi Kanth says, “Closed footwear should be avoided by those suffering from hallux valgus — a deformity (a bony bump) of the big toe, due to which it deviates towards the inside of the foot. Tight-fitting closed footwear will further increase the pressure on the big toe. For such people, comfortable sandals and flip flops are a better option.”
“Pregnant women should avoid all kinds of heels, as mobility and reflexes slow down during pregnancy and there is a generalized ligament laxity. They are prone to get backaches and hurt the spine, apart from the risk of falling which wearing heels carries,” he adds.
Those wearing comfortable and safe sneakers also require proper foot care. “Good sneakers should be worn. These should not be too tight or too loose and should be geared for the activity one is doing, be it sport or hiking or climbing. Since perspiration occurs when wearing shoes for a long time, they should be removed as and when possible and must be kept clean. After removing footwear, the feet should be washed and simple stretching exercises of the foot and calf muscles should be done,” stresses the doctor.
“Diabetic patients can wear micro-cellular rubber footwear. However, those who suffer from Achilles Tendinitis, a condition that causes pain and discomfort in the posterior part of the heel, are advised to wear heel elevation footwear. Heel wedges are inserted in their footwear facilitating healing,” adds the doctor.