Tuesday, August 17, 2010
For the study, Marco Narici of Manchester Metropolitan University and colleagues recruited 80 women aged 20 to 50 who had been wearing heels of at least 2 inches almost daily for two years or more. Of those, 11 said they experienced discomfort when walking in flatter shoes.
When compared with women who did not wear heels, ultrasounds revealed the women who wore heels had calf muscle fibers that were 13 percent shorter, while MRIs showed the Achilles tendon, which attaches the heel bone to the calf muscle, was stiffer and thicker.
"This is a great study that looks at the mechanism of how high heels may cause grief and aggravation to the woman wearing them," said Marian Hannan, a senior scientist at the Institute for Aging Research at Hebrew SeniorLife in Boston, who was not involved in the research. "This may have an impact on how future shoes are designed and help the industry understand how women can be slaves to fashion but not suffer so much physical discomfort."