By Rita R. Robison, Consumer Specialist
For years, I’ve written about how bad high heels are for women’s feet, especially baby boomer women’s feet.
But women keep wearing them, and high heels get taller and taller – and more dangerous.
High heels, especially those with heels higher than one inch, put the foot in an unnatural position. High heels change how you walk and change pressure points in certain areas of the feet.
A high heel three inches or more puts seven times more pressure on the ball of the foot. Wearing heels may also increase the risk of back pain, sprains, and shortened calf muscles.
Now young girls and teens are wearing higher and higher heels, as part of the trend that is sexualizing females at younger and younger ages.
The recent media attention surrounding French Vogue’s advertisement featuring 10-year-old model, Thylane Loubry Blondeau, in extremely high heels, has brought attention to this alarming trend.
From a medical point of view, young girls wearing high heels and pointy-toed shoes is a concern because their bones are more malleable and can be structurally deformed as they grow, Blitz said in The Huffington Post article “How Young Is Too Young for High Heels?”
“Simply put, bone growth occurs from a cartilaginous precursor that becomes calcified and hardened,” he said in the article. “The softer growing bone can be deformed and misshapen by external forces, such as high heels. This is the physiology behind the Chinese foot binding.”
Until young girls stop growing, there is a significant risk to cause bone and joint deformations within the foot, Blitz said.
“From a purely bone-related standpoint, females reach skeletally maturity around age 14,” he said. “This does not mean that this the proper age for one to begin wearing high heels, nor am I indicating that high heel wearing is safe at all for young girls and adolescents. But parents should strongly consider avoiding shoe gear that can have a life-long impact on the foot prior to maturity of the foot.”
In his article, Blitz also reminded women of all ages that, even after skeletal maturity, the risk of developing foot problems from wearing high heels still exists.