Revealing New High Heel Study

There's a reason these flight attendants had to sit: their feet were killing them!Just a few days ago, I wrote about how a group of female flight attendants were fighting a rule that would force them to wear high heels until all passengers were seated for takeoff. So when a new study following South Korean flight attendants was published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice, I was very interested in seeing what they discovered.

Over the course of four years, researchers followed 10 women attending flight attendant school in South Korea (the women had to wear high heels to class since the shoes would be part of their uniform should they be hired by any South Korean airline.) The observed effects on the women’s feet were very interesting.

In order to see what the frequent wearing of high heels was doing to the ladies, their balance and ankle strength was regularly tested in a lab setting. At first, the heels seemed to strengthen the women’s legs: compared to first year students, second-and-third-years had stronger ankle muscles, especially the one on the inside and outside of the ankle joint.

Unfortunately, the benefits were very short lived. By the time women reached their final year of school, having regularly worn high-heels for four years, those once-stronger muscles were now weaker than they were at their initial examination. Not only had they lost all muscular strength gains (and then some!) but their balance was dramatically worse for wear.

So there you have it: yet more proof that regularly wearing high heels can hurt you. Weaker ankles and bad balance, in combination, leave you vulnerable to twists, falls and plenty of injuries. Do yourselves a favor: keep the heels for special occasions and come see me if you are concerned that your footwear has already caused damage to your feet and ankles. It’s not too late: Dr. Schneider can help!
Dr. Andrew Schneider
Dr. Andrew Schneider is a podiatrist and foot surgeon at Tanglewood Foot Specialists in Houston, TX.