Lifewatch: Stilettos and your health

Reported by Claire Hosmann - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

(WECT) - It's true that stylish high heels can make you look taller, flatter your legs, and give you a chick appearance, but they also are notorious for harming women's feet.

Now, there is a new fitness craze that is helping put an end to the pain.

Wearing high heels is no walk in the park, but it doesn't stop most women.  Recent studies say the higher the heel, the more wear-and-tear on your knees, ankles, and feet.

Dr. Emily Splichal says it may not be the shoes themselves causing the problems, it may be how we walk in them.

"So we learn it, we do it, we don't really think when we get up and walk, so I'm trying to re-educate and have women do think about how walk when you are standing," said Splichal.

Her class at New York Sports Club is becoming a hit, but it's not all fashion and glam.

"Catwalk confidence is a workout that helps women build shoulder stabilization, strength, and foot stabilization," said Splichal.  "So that they can build postial endurance, core strength, and strong feet and ankles to walk in high heels."

The workout concentrates on shoulders, back, and hip muscles.

"Every time that you step, whether again it's in heels or in flats, your hip muscles are engaging to keep the pelvis controlled," said Splichal.  "So a lot of the moves that we do work the hip, and then the abdominals."

If you can't give up your favorite stilettos, Splichal has some helpful tips:

  • don't wear high heels on long walks
  • never wear the same shoes two days in a row
  • switch the height of the heel every day
  • try to stick to heels under 4 inches
  • stretch daily

Surprisingly, flat shoes are not the ideal for overall foot and leg health.  A low heel is proven to provide support to the front and back of the foot.