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The Dangers of Stilettos

Women have worn high-heeled shoes for hundreds of years, but the heel has never been so tall and narrow as on the stiletto heels that became popular in the early 1950s. A stiletto heel, named after a thin Italian dagger, could be as tall as four or five inches, and it narrowed to a point as small as three-eighths of an inch in diameter. The shoes forced women to stand on their tiptoes, clench their calf muscles, and thrust their chest forward for balance. The dramatic stance that the heels forced women to adopt was said to make the wearer look sexy and glamorous.

The stiletto, like other fashions of the time, was not at all practical. It highlighted women’s femininity, but the shoe was also a hazard to women’s bodies and to the surfaces they walked on.

Wearing high-heels all day long will hurt your feet and cause long-term damage. This includes calluses, corns and more serious posture conditions caused by additional pressure being placed on the back and neck. A further problem is the shortening of the Achilles tendon, although this takes years of wearing high-heels to develop.

In her book Shoes: What Every Woman Should Know, author Stephanie Pedersen tells us that, according to recent U.S. statistics, nearly 43 million Americans seek help for foot problems each year, with the British at around 200,000, with 10,000 being taken to hospital accident and emergency departments. Podiatrists believe that “platforms and their cousins, stilettos cause the lion share of these accidents.”

Walking on uneven pavements and getting heels stuck in grids or cracks all provide potential accident situations. Pedersen states that something as simple as turning around, stepping off a curb or walking on uneven sidewalks can cause knee injuries, sprained or broken ankles, sprained knees, broken toes or even broken legs.

Despite all the hidden health hazards, retail sales are soaring and women still continue to endure the discomfort of high-heels in the name of being fashion-forward. The power of the stiletto is not only the fact that it makes you walk taller, but it has a slimming effect on your body too. Slip on a pair of these tall towers and you can be transformed from housewife to sex kitten; no other fashion accessory has such dramatic results.

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