Fashion, Features

The High and Low of Stilettos

By Eloise Alba They turn a day dress into instant party attire, they add sexy to a t-shirt and jeans ensemble, and let's face it, they make our legs look longer and leaner. They're quite possibly a woman's best friend (next to diamonds)—they're the one and only: stiletto heels! Open any woman's shoe closet and you're bound to find a pair. But, did you know that these sky-high works of art have also been proven to result in certain health hazards? Capital-based Rajeev K. Sharma, a senior consultant orthopaedic and joint replacement surgeon at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, sees around 25 patients in a month for orthopaedic problems due to high heels. "There are numerous ailments, but the common ones include disc prolapsed (slipped disc), knee arthritis and plantar fasciitis (a painful inflammation on the sole of the foot)," Sharma said. Hollywood actress and fashion icon Sarah Jessica Parker paid the price for her high-heel clad feet, attributing their deformity to her obsession with wearing stilettos. "When we walk or run, a lot of effort is made by the knee for proper movement. Imagine wearing a shoe with pointed heels and walking uncomfortably every day! The walking style will become your habit but damage will be done to the cartilage in the knee," explains Sharma. So, are we to throw away our pretty little pumps and succumb to a... oh, say... flat life? Let's hope not. Here are a few tips from the experts: * Shoes should be properly fitted. You can wear high heels but choose more comfortable pairs when walking long distances. * If you are standing or sitting with heels on,  do some foot  stretches like dorsiflexion, plantarflexion, eversion and inversion. * Food intake can also play are a role. A plant-centered diet increases blood circulation, which helps with the joints. * Lastly, sticking to wedges or heels not higher than 1.5 inches can be helpful. We can try.

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