Shoe-related dangers lurk underfoot. The rate of high heel–related injuries doubled over a 10-year period, and most of those injuries happened in a place you might not expect.
This is Scientific American’s 60-Second Science. I’m Erica Beras. Got a minute?
Emergency room visits due to high heel shoe–related injuries doubled between 2002 and 2012. That’s according to a study in the Journal of Foot and Ankle Surgery. [Justin Xavier Moore et al, Epidemiology of High-Heel Shoe Injuries in U.S. Women: 2002 to 2012]
Researchers estimate that, during the period of the study, Americans sustained more than 123,000 high heel–related, ER-worthy injuries. Almost three quarters of the damage was to ankles and feet but wearers also hurt their knees, shoulders and heads. Most of the injuries were minor.
The research adds to a body of knowledge on the adverse effects of heels. It’s known that walking in them can reduce ankle muscle movement, stride length and balance. Long term, heels can alter the neuromechanics of walking and can lead to musculoskeletal disorders. But they look good. And more than half of American women—and some men—wear heels regularly.
Most of the footwear foibles tracked in the study were suffered by women between the ages of 20 and 29. And perhaps surprisingly, the majority of the injuries did not happen while people were out on the town—they occurred at home. So before you don your newest pair of pricey pumps, wedges or stilettos, remember, being careful can save your sole. And your ankle, too.
Thanks for the minute! For Scientific American’s 60-Second Science, I’m Erika Beras.
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