Can you walk in high heels? I can’t. Okay, sure, I have been known to use them to get from Point A to Point B (usually at a wedding), but do I enjoy the experience? Do any of us? These are the questions that plague womanity – or at least the ones who get to include “surviving high heels” in their lives instead of “surviving starvation and catastrophe.” Although when the Big One hits Los Angeles, it is possible I may be using my high heels as weapons in a properly recycled manner.
Why am I ranting about the high heel? Mostly because I have a closet full of them that look absolutely adorable in the store, but five steps out I’m falling off them for flats. Some of us are total wimps when it comes to foot pain. But it turns out, there’s reason for it. NPR reports on a new study showing that women who wear high heels dramatically alter their leg muscles. And they do so to the point that they can no longer stand barefoot without pain. Everyone say it with me – ouch!
According to this British study, women who wear high heels daily eventually develop shorter calf muscles and thicker Achilles tendons. In fact, calf muscles are shortened by as much as 13 percent. Marco Narici is the study’s lead author. As NPR writes, Narici “compares the effect to muscle atrophy that strikes people confined to their beds for a long time. Bed rest keeps muscles in a fixed position, causing some muscle fibers to become shorter.” Yes, we are atrophying our legs by wearing high heels. Stay with me, people – ew!
So what’s the solution? Obviously, it would be not to wear high heels. But are we really going to hang up our sassy kicks? Obviously not. On a recent Bridesmaid Adventure (because that’s the only way they can be described) I asked the bride if she would mind if wore flats to her reception. She did. So I did not.
Also, I like fashion. I can’t help it. High heels do make our legs look longer and leaner. They are ingrained in our culture as sexy shoes, and you’re going to be hard-pressed to find someone under the age of 80 who is going to completely give them up. Our NPR doctors urge that you wear high heels in shorter increments, take them off when they hurt, and to keep the heels no taller than two inches.
Or you can just complain a lot, like me.
For further reading: Why High Heels Hurt Even After You Take Them Off