Save the heels for when you need them

Sarah Cockrell


Credit: Jason Hall

No one wants to confess to falling while wearing high heels. But almost every day, there is someone teetering into class on 3-inch stilettos.

“Women feel more curvy and more attractive when they wear high heels,” said Raymond Leone, chief university physician at DeWeese Health Center. “It’s part of the personality.”

One of the few benefits of wearing high heels is they make a woman’s leg appear shapelier.

But high heels are one of the major factors that cause foot problems in women, according to the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.

Leone said wearing high heels for an extended period of time could set a woman up for problems later in life. He does not recommend women wear high heels everyday.

A high heel is a shoe with a heel that is more than two inches high, according to the foundation.

Leone said the calf muscles stay tighter when the heels are on, which causes the leg to lose some flexibility.

High heels temporarily make a woman taller, but they also put pressure on the lower back, which could cause permanent injury.

The cure is simple: “Switch to tennis shoes,” Leone said. “Many women in New York City wear business suits and tennis shoes to work.”

On campus, not many women are seen wearing heels every day.

“I would not wear heels to class ever,” freshman chemistry major Geneva Cardwell said. “You stick out in class when you have on high heels and dress pants.”

Leone said one of the most common injuries is an ankle sprain. The thinner the heel, such as a stiletto, the harder it is to balance, which may cause a woman to roll over or fall off the heel.

Bunions, hammertoe, ingrown toenails and blisters are some of the other problems caused by wearing high heels.

But Leone said he has not seen many injuries this year due to high-heeled shoes.

“Women here are more practical,” Leone said. “When you have a more sprawled out campus you don’t see that (women wearing heels everyday).”

It’s still OK to wear high heels sometimes. Leone recommends women stretch to maintain flexibility in their legs.

Leone said most problems caused by wearing high heels occur gradually over time. He compared it to a smoker getting emphysema. It doesn’t happen right away.

Contact on-campus medicine reporter Sarah Cockrell at [email protected].