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Stiletto Heel Therapy

Information And Treatment

Stilettos are shoes with long, narrow, high heels. They’ve been popular since the early 1950s, when Salvatore Ferragamo made a pair of three-inch spiked shoes out of alligator skin for Marilyn Monroe. Today, many associate the sexy shoe with Sex and the City’s Carrie and her love for Manolo Blahniks, Louboutins and Jimmy Choos. While other shoe trends—many of them more practical and foot-friendly—may come and go, the stiletto remains popular.

And the higher the better. While a four-inch stiletto heel used to be considered high, today many women are wearing six-inch stilettos (or higher) on a regular basis.

Unfortunately, high heels in general are bad for your feet because they place feet in what’s called a plantarflexed position, in which the feet point down. This unnatural position causes strain in the hips and back. Stilettos are even worse than regular heels because the heels are so narrow, causing your weight to further shift toward the front of the foot. For a woman who weighs 120 to 155 pounds, wearing heels more than two inches high places 700 to 800 pounds of pressure on the balls of the feet.

Frequent wearing of stilettos will shorten the Achilles tendon, making it uncomfortable to wear flats. Stiletto wearers are more prone to develop planar fasciitis, a painful swelling of the tissue on the bottoms of the feet. Standing on heels for long periods of time can increase the risk of deep vein thrombosis, a condition in which blood clots form in the legs. The rubbing of shoes on feet can cause calluses, dead layers of skin, to form on the sides or bottoms of feet. Wearing stilettos can also become more painful with age. The pad of fat on the bottom of the foot starts to thin after the age of 40, reducing the body’s natural cushioning against the blows of the pavement. Finally, because of the narrowness of the heel, stilettos are unstable, making it more likely that you’ll fall or twist your ankle.

That said, high-heeled shoes sure look cute.