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The Cost of Killer Heels -Not for the Squeamish.
High heeled shoes are the height of fashion and worn by many women on every possible occasion. Whether walking to the supermarket, a day at the office or a formal event, stiletto shoes give an elegant sexy and sophisticated edge to an outfit. Over the past few thousand years high heels have been in and out of fashion but are now as popular as they ever have been.
Looking a the list of celebrity designers- Gucci, Louboutin , Prada , Jimmy Choo,Manolo, Blahnik Cavalli, Alexander McQueen and Prada -women the world over are in love with their heels. Making women feel powerful, classy and sexual, stilettos make the legs look longer and more defined. The pelvis become tilted when standing or walking emphasizing female curves; the sound of tapping draws attention to the wearer.
Heels can be modest at one or two inches, medium heels are between two to three inches, while a true high heel is four inches or more. Some hard core heel wearers can mange to wear a heel of seven inches.
Although high heeled shoes have been documented since ancient Egyptian times, it is only in the the 20th century that women have worn heels with such a widespread passion.
Heels accentuate the length of the leg, make calves and ankles appear more shapely, the feet seem smaller and give the wearer a tilt to the pelvis which adds a provocative gait to the walk.
Fashion to Die for
Pain for Style
A high heel is defined as post which raises the heel 3.5 inches or higher above the front of the foot. This forces the ball of the foot to bear many more times the weight of the whole body than nature intended. Wearers of high heels will testify to the pain or burning sensation in the ball of the foot after periods of standing or walking. This pain is called metatarsalgia and is a sign that localised trauma has occurred within the foot tissue. Indeed there are products available including gel on general sale that are specifically designed to be worn in the shoe to help prevent the trauma.
Feet are complex structures that allow us to remain stable while walking. Very high shoes disrupt this dynamic process and other parts of the body have to compensate in order for us to walk. In particular the knees and hips are challenged in a traumatic way and long term wearers of heels risk serious long term joint damage. Lordosis of the spine while very figure enhancing can put the heel wearer at risk of permanent arthritis and back instability.
Oprah Winfrey and Her Bunions
Victoria Beckham has fallen foul to this High Heel Malaise
High Heels and Toes
Although many areas of the body can be damaged by high heel shoes, perhaps the most obvious are the toes. High shoes often have pointed toes , so the foot is pushed forward and downward , the toes already under a huge force are confined into a small triangular area.
This can and frequently does cause a range of toe and foot deformities, including bunions. Bunions ( hallus valgus) are an overgrowth of bone; a protection system of the body to prevent further damage to the foot.
Bunions are very disfiguring, can be extremely painful, and notoriously difficult to treat. Surgical solutions include bone shaving- literally sawing off slices of the bony overgrowth.Many famous celebrities have bunion problems after years of wearing catwalk styles. Although bunions are though of as a disorder of elderly people they can start early in life, especially if a women chooses to wear high heels very regularly. Bunions will increase with age.
A Bound Chinese Foot
Chinese Foot Binding
The deformities caused by 21st Century fashion are reminiscent of the foot shapes cased by Chinese foot binding; a practice that was popular in China for over 1000 years until it was eventually banned in the early 1920s. Young Chinese girls would have their feet repeatedly bandaged into ever tighter bindings until her feed conformed to the aesthetic values of the time. The process of binding was painful; toes and arches became broken, the feet became contorted and folded into a tiny form. Girls as young as 4 would have their feet broken, bound and repeatedly beaten to brevent breaks from healing. The pain must have been unimaginable.
Chinese women then were considered beautiful for their tiny feet, their teetering steps would be thought of as sexually alluring= unable to run or climb, much like modern 21st women in their stiletto shoes.
Women were subjugated by their feet, and some of the shoes and gaits of modern and 21st Century women bear striking similarities. Women are still prepared to suffer in order to stifle and damage their feet for the sake of fashion it seems.