Sexy Free

Sexy Free

Is It Sexy To Have Foot Pain? by Brandt R Gibson DPM

Why do women wear high heels? Many women are seen by us and claim they must wear the heel to work or must wear the pointed boot with their black dress or even must wear the classy heeled shoe to church. They state that it is not optional or that it is expected. I even had one woman tell me that she needs to present the correct "image" at work. "The high heeled shoe just looks better!" she said. This may be the truest statement, but it may just be that they like the way they look or feel in the particular shoe.

In one study run about high heels, the heel was found to produce several key changes in the appearance. Heels were found to produce a slimming appearance of the legs, by increasing the leg length and the associated height of the individual. It makes a woman taller, which throughout history has often been considered more beautiful or more sexy. Heels were shown to modify the center of gravity and force arching of the back, pushing the bosom forward and buttocks rearward, thus accentuating the female form or in other words it has been shown to accentuate the features that make a woman more sexy to men. They just "look better," as the woman explained to me.

So what is the cost of this high heeled shoe use? If it is more sexy to wear high heeled shoes, is it worth it? The American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) found that about 39% of women still wear high heeled shoes to work. The number utilizing high heeled shoes is increased for women to "go out" or "with dresses or nice clothes". Some will even say that their feet hurt afterwards, but wear the shoes anyway. So they question I am commonly asked is whether high heeled shoes "cause" foot problems.

In a recent study by Hebrew Senior Life Institute for Aging Research, it was found that shoe types could be associated with foot and ankle pain. The study examined shoe types in three categories: "poor" (high-heels, pumps, sandals and slippers), "average" (hard- or rubber-soled shoes and work boots) and "good" (athletic and casual sneakers). Of the 3300 men and women studied, 60 percent of women reported wearing "poor" shoes in the past (compared to 2 percent of men) and at least 13 percent said they currently wear "poor" shoes.

With this information, the study also found that nearly 30 percent of women and 20 percent of men reported generalized foot pain. But when it was determined that high-heels or pumps were regularly utilized, hind-foot pain was found to be more significant (even if just worn in the past). So this habit of wearing the "sexy" shoe can lead to increased foot & ankle pain over time.

So the question still is if it is worth it? As a woman looks for a shoe or decides what to wear to work or even to the club, care should be utilized to choose the shoe that will allow the desired appearance without increasing the risk of long term foot pain. Can you wear high-heeled shoes? Yes, but not for long periods of time and not every single day without it causing additional pain or foot problems over time. Remember it is never "sexy" to have foot pain.

Copyright (c) 2009 Mountain West Foot & Ankle Institute

Brandt R. Gibson, DPM, MS is a foot and ankle specialist. He is located in American Fork, Utah. For further educational materials and recommended medical products, visit . A free book on foot and ankle health can also be ordered at

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