Even though high-heeled shoes have become the fashion vogue for ladies, physiotherapists have warned that they could also constitute health hazards
| By Chinwe Okafor | Oct. 14, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT
SOME people call it torture chambers, while others prefer to call it killer heels or azonto shoes. The shoes are given these names because many of them have high-heels with towering heights reaching nearly six or seven inches. This makes the wearer to look taller than she is. High-heeled shoes have become fashionable among ladies.
Sopuluchi Nwadiugwu, a corps member, is a fashion follower. She likes to wear high heeled shoes because they make her legs slender and trendy. She loves wearing them because she walks more confidently and they help to shapen her walking steps. “Whenever I’m going for any outing, I am always sure of wearing high-heeled shoes because they make me look elegant and smart. Though they are sometimes uncomfortable but the beautiful thing about wearing high-heeled shoes is that they make me look classy. I also wear them to church on Sundays and they are already a part of me,” she said.
In recent times, many ladies cannot do without wearing high-heeled shoes. Some do so regardless of the discomfort and health hazards because they want to increase their height, especially if they are very short. Others wear it because they believe the heels add poise and elegance to their appearance. Some say high heels help them to cultivate better walking carriage. Jane Okeke, a housewife, also loves shoes with high heels. She said: “I love the way they control the movement of my body. High heeled shoes make me stand out tall at all times. I have even perfected the act of running in high heeled shoes and I’ve enjoyed them so much. Though they are sometimes uncomfortable for me but I seem to tolerate the pain on my legs better when I am in them.” Okeke and Phils are not the only ladies who love wearing high-heeled shoes despite the hazard they cause to the human body. Both old and young ladies wear them but there is a price for wearing them because they are painful to wear and moreover cause a lot of discomfort for the feet. Above all, they can cause embarrassing falls or ankle twists.
Women’s ‘no pain no gain’ attitude to shoes is putting them at risk of permanent foot injury, medical experts have warned. Netochi Nworah, a physiotherapist in Lagos, said that women should desist from frequent wearing of high-heeled shoes because of the pains they cause. “The rough terrain in most Nigerian towns and cities makes the wearing of high heels even more hazardous. People with serious health issues like diabetes should steer clear of such shoes. Normally, diabetic feet swell and so wearing high-heeled shoes would only worsen the plight of the patient. When high heeled shoes are used for a long period of time, they can cause Achilles tendon to shorten. Wearing these shoes can cause unsightly blisters, corns and the condition called hammers toes where the toes are scattered because of disruption of the bone structure of the feet.
“These health hazards can be temporary or permanent depending on when the injuries are treated. The effect could be temporary if the fracture is cured at the early stage. It could lead to a permanent problem if the pain persists due to the stress on the joints caused by continued wearing of high-heeled shoes. High-heeled shoes are not the best for anyone, hence should be worn sparingly to avoid injury. Best are shoes that flex with your foot without rolling up in flimsy balls or feeling stiff as boards when you walk. Buy shoes with low heel. If your footwear and walking manner have caused you to develop joint pain and other spinal-related discomfort, contact a physiotherapist to learn how therapeutic procedures can give you relief without drugs. Individuals are different with various movement patterns and alignment. Physiotherapists are trained to examine each individual and attempt to correct improper habits, alignments and movement patterns,” she said
Folakemi Taiwo, a lab scientist, said high-heeled shoes cause health hazards to the body. She said that some of the hazards could be either short or long-term and could cause late or early injury to the leg or ankle. “High-heeled shoes could lead to unexpected dislocation or fracture. This happens frequently to people who are not used to high heels. The injuries could affect other parts of the body apart from the areas affected by the bone dislocation. A long term effect of wearing high-heeled shoes is the damage to the arrangement of the bone and toe structure of the feet. When this happens, it can cause low back pain, worsen body posture, stress muscles in the leg and in the bones.”
According to her, any shoe with a heel higher than two inches is an issue of great concern. She advised that if a woman wants the extra height, it would be better to wear stacks such as platforms or wedges. High-heeled shoes come in different designs. They also have different names such as wedge, block heels, pencil heels, stilettos and pointes. Some of the latest designers of killer heels are known as Aldo, Louis Vuittons, Jessica Simpsons, Atmosphere, Prim, Juicy Courture and Asos. Their prices also vary because there are shoes that cost between N5, 000 and N10, 000 while there are other shoes that could cost from N15, 000 to N50, 000.