Dirty Little Secret of Stiletto Heels

Is there anything sexier than stiletto heels?

Stiletto heels--the higher, the better--are the ultimate fashion item for sex appeal, and most women consider them the essential item for seducing a potential partner.

Fashionistas, beware! Those stiletto heels are dangerous to your health. They may seduce a man, but also they cause painful corns, calluses and blisters, as well as back, ankle and muscle problems. And that's if you're lucky. The real damage stilettos can cause are bunions and hammer toes, injuries that often require surgery to fix--and pricey at that with typical costs running between $5,000 and $15,000. The New York Post has a new name for stiletto heels: "hell heels."

Of course, such injuries don't happen overnight. A bunion is the enlargement of the first joint of the big toe and develops after years of wearing heels, while hammer toes occur when the toe bones irreversibly curl under. The American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society reports that about $3.5 billion is spent annually on foot surgeries.

"Women don't consider 3-inch heels high anymore. They're considered comfortable, and more women are turning to 4-inch-high heels now," Karen Williamson, president of barefoottess.com, an online designer shoe store, told New York Post reporter Marina Vataj. "As long as designers are making them and celebrities like Victoria Beckham and Sarah Jessica Parker are wearing them, everyone will."

Dr. Oliver Zong, a New York City orthopedic surgeon and podiatrist, says women aren't aware of the serious damage wearing high heels too much and too long can cause. "In a city like this one, I have so many who come in with feet problems and need surgery as a result of wearing them," he told the Post. "I get a fair amount of women who ask to have their feet narrowed so that they fit into a particular type of shoe," says Zong. "They say, 'I can't wear stylish shoes because my foot is too fat, and I'd like to be able to' and I tell them their options."

Yes, you can have your wide feet narrowed either by removing fat from the foot or shaving the bone. Women also seek out orthopedic surgeons to have their toes shortened or to get collagen injected in the balls of the feet for extra cushioning.

If you want to wear heels, Zong advises doing the following:

  • Find shoes that accommodate the width of your foot so they fit properly.
  • Get regular pedicures.
  • Soak your feet a few times a week.
  • When you take your shoes off, do simple toe exercises.

    --From the Editors at Netscape

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