Thursday, May 3, 2012

Woes of High Heel Shoes!

 Passionate About Shoes

(Excerpts from Style in the Spectator, April 27, 2012)

A former model and now shoe designer, Tabitha Simmons, has the kind of
super stylish life and career that induces envy.  She designs a luxury
collection of whimsical girlie shoes, many with hand-embroidered silk
from an English company.  The shoes illustrated with this article are
to die for!  Onea high-heeled shoe in a gorgeous turquoise blue
designed as a very strappy sandal a Gwyneth pump @ $1,595.00.
Another Gala pump is also stiletto-heeled with a pastel mosaic-patterned
leather(?)  banded over the instep with a small side buckle and open-toed.
Price of thisonly $895.00.
How Inviting  (to the consumer) to Own and Wear!

Tabitha comments that when a teen, she worked Saturdays in a shoe store
developing, from that time, a  passion for shoes.  Women want something
feminine, comfortable, fashionable and at the same time fundamental.
Footwear styles are often a reflection of the times;  however, I want my
shoes to be timeless and feel fashionable in three years time.

After reading Tabithas shoe views, I recalled an article I have previously
writtenas yet not published on blogso today  seems very timely.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

On Monday, April 14, 2008, I replied to a letter in the Spectator called 
“Pump Pain” showing beautiful fashion shoes that accentuated the contour of 
female legs. The article did briefly comment about the frequency of wearing
 these “heels”.I responded, same day, with the following letter to the Spec:

These shoes are indeed “classy” in appearance!  For many years I wore them...
on my  feet daily while classroom teaching, wearing “spike heels” each 1/2 day
and  lower heeled shoes the remainder of the day...and of course on weekends
for any special occasion.

Over the duration of many years, I enjoyed the “sensation of the wear”.   
However,  in later years, I developed degenerative osteo-arthritis...(today, my 
orthopedic specialist adds an additional word...”chronic”!)  For a couple years, 
I consistently took the various herbal pills recommended to combat arthritis...
even a magnetic mattress, but with little or no  effect. Going to medical
practitioners, I had several sessions of therapeutic massage...water therapy
classes twice a week...a chiropractor who administered acupuncture.   
The last two had minor positive easing of pain for a couple days following
 treatment...but no cure!

“Pump Pain” in reality is what a woman will eventually suffer!   
My chiropractor  immediately ordered me to cease wearing high heels...
explaining that they cause the discs in the spine to alter and definitely affects
 the spine curvature! Consequently, I had to dispose of my lovely high heels
and replace them with low heels which  came at great cost because I have
narrow width feet.  Still, today, back pain is constantly with me; my back
 slopes and unable to stand for more than a few minutes or walk far. 

My greatest loss was the inability to continue in recreational sports..
.tennis, skiing, dancing, golf, hiking!  These I  have replaced with more 
sedentary activities ~ theatrical productions, movies, duplicate bridge
both in local clubs and BBO (Bridge Base Online), photography, reading 
mysteries and some science fiction... even consider some personal writings!

In a current fashion magazine, a sizeable “eye-catcher” of a female's shapely lower
leg, clad in black sexy fisherman-knit-stocking with a narrow black leather buckled
ankle strap and foot perilously perched into a probably 6-inch stiletto heel..caught
my attention! Of course, red-painted toenails peek through the toe hosiery. 
Very sexy, very alluring! From the attached article, I share with you comments
 from  medical practitioners which are of vital importance.

Hell on HEELS

I Hate the whole concept of comfort!  It's like when people say, “Well, we're not 
really in love, but we're in a comfortable relationship. You're abandoning many 
ideas when  you are too into comfort,” stiletto savant Louboutin exclaimed.   
Why is every woman happy to squish, stagger and suffer in gravity-defying heels? 
Beyond the daily aches and pains, a devotion to fanciful footwear comes with
long-term health effects too. Our shoes of choice  stress not only bones, joints and 
nerves, but also muscles all the way up the body..

“The greater the heel height, the more pressure  you shift onto the ball of  your 
foot. With a mere one inch, the pressure goes up by 22%; for two inches, 57%; 
three inches (still modest height in some shoe standards today) it's a whopping 
76%,” says Marz Hardy, chiropodist and owner of Academy Foot and Orthotic 
Clinics in Toronto, Ontario. “Over time, teetering in towering, too-tight heels can 
cause foot problems ranging from hammertoes and bunions to pinched nerves...
and that is just the start.”

Beyond their abstract transformative power ~ instant polish and sex appeal ~ lofty
heels distort the body literally, from head to toe.  “When you put on high heels, 
your centre of gravity changes and it is much more forward,” explains Dr. Shazia Malik, 
podiatrist and founder of Malik Advanced Foot Clinic in Montreal.  “To avoid
tipping over, and face-planting,  your body naturally compensates by arching your
back significantly, which can cause  strain over time, especially on the lower back.”

Marz Hardy further says, “Walking this way on tiptoes, means you are
hyperextending your ankles, flexing your knees and hyperextending your hips 
and lumbar spine and you may end up with pain on any of those joints.  
Most of the shoes on the market are good for our business because sooner or
later, people will end up with some sort of complaint.The problems can extend
upward to the shoulder and beyond  as other body parts and muscles try to 
offset the out-of-whack alignment.”

“Add a hefty carryall to the equation, and you're thrown even more off-kilter.  
The extra weight on one shoulder means the muscles that keep  your spine 
stable will need to work constantly on one side of  your body.  When the 
muscles get tired, they don't want to work anymore and then you have 
decreased stability in your  spine, and that's when  people start feeling the pain,” 
explains Erika Bell, chiropractor at On The Mark-It Physiotherpay and Sports 
Injury Clinic in Toronto.

Sky-high shoes can also worsen existing back problems.  Both pregnancy and 
heels alter your posture...imagine 30 pounds of front-loaded extra weight plus 
an already pitched-forward centre of gravity.  A disc sits between each of your 
vertebrae. When there's too much pressure or too high of a load on that disc, 
that's when you have an increased risk of injury.

How much long-term wear and tear your joints and bones will endure is still a
matter of debate, but a small recent study from Iowa State University suggested 
that high heels can ultimately lead to a higher risk of joint degeneration and knee 


Well, Readers...I comment to myself, “If I only knew this when I was  younger...
would I alter my lifestyle?   But in those days...stilettos were not the rage in shoes!”

“So what is the best type of heel to wear if you must? I ask the experts.

Hardy states, “Wedges are very comfortable as are Platform Heels which aren't
as perilously steep as they appear...also easier on your body.”

“Pearl of Wisdom”
                                                  Sooner or later...even the strongest camel 
   will collapse under one more additional straw.

Merle Baird-Kerr . . . April 27, 2012
Wish to comment?   Scroll down...( may sign in as “anonymous”)


  1. Dear Merle,

    I was not a real high heel girl because my profession was a registered nurse and wearing solid whites on the ward while working was the uniform and shoes were of the utmost comfort as you were on your feet at least 8 hours a day !
    But as I progressed I would wear high heels in my new life and did I ever pay for it... now I wear only creature comfort shoes and I am blessed by discovering I can control my discomfort by this through shoe orthotics.
    Sometimes I wonder now.... was it a man's design for his own needs that he created these monsters! Just wondering !


  2. Thanks, Sherrie for your many we think we know it all when we are young! Like "tanning beds" in the news today. Teens and young adults are warned of dangers to health...but of course, "nothing will afflict them"!