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The long-term effects of stilettos

The long-term effects of stilettos

As powerful as women may feel wearing a pair of stylish stilettos, new research has found that heels can have detrimental consequences, potentially causing imbalance in the feet.

A new study focused on females who wear high heels regularly for work and found that while the muscles around the ankle are initially strengthened by the footwear, eventually they were at more risk of sprain due to becoming too dominant.

Dr Yong-Seok Jee, from Hanseo University in South Korea, documented findings from 40 professional women who wear extremely high heels around three times a week. The ankle muscles became dominant after wearing the shoes for one to three years.

"As high heels are in fashion and sometimes required for certain professions, many women may be unaware of the extent to which [the shoes] may be weakening their dynamic balance," Dr Jee said.

"Eventually, major accidents such as falls and serious ankle sprains can result without proper maintenance and conditioning."

Wearing high heels regularly can also lead to unhealthy walking patterns and back pain, all of which could persist long-term.

Dr Jee believes the time has come for ladies to take "preventative measures" before these problems occur. Firstly, high heels should be worn less and when women do opt to put them on, they should choose a pair with plenty of support in the form of strong straps or a chunky heel.

He also recommends women partake in ankle-strengthening exercises, such as walking on the heel of the foot, with the ball raised.

There's also toe tapping; sitting with bare feet on the ground and lifting the front of your foot while the heel remains in place.

"It is clinically important for wearers of heels to regularly perform [these] exercises," Dr Jee added.

So take note when browsing your shoe collection - do you really need to wear those six-inch heels? Save your best stilettos for when the occasion calls.

The findings were published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice.

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