Wearing high heels might be considered sexy but hazardous to health

By Liz Frye

Whether we want to admit it or not, sex sells. A large part of that has to do with hair, clothes, personality and especially the shoes on one’s feet.

For women, the dizzying array of styles and colors seems to be endless. However, there seems to be one common denominator: a predilection for the highest heel possible. For more than a decade heel heights have escalated to near-skyscraper proportions. Forget about the sensible two or three inch heel work shoe. Right now, especially in Las Vegas, the higher the better, as in four, five and even six-inch heels.

However, as sexy as that may seem —and look—tottering around in pin thin stilettos and platforms are not without hazards.

“The most common injury is bunions,” said Dr. David Silverberg of Silver State Orthopedics. “These types of shoes cause bunions due to the narrow toe bed of the shoe. Women who wear them can develop tendinitis in their knees as well as hip and back pain.”

As an orthopedic trauma surgeon, Dr. Silverberg has seen some very interesting injuries that he has had to operate on as a result of high heel misfortune.

“Unfortunately, I’ve seen some of the worst cases of broken bones, ankle dislocations and fractures and sometimes tibia fractures that go through the skin,” he said. “Usually, I see this happening in younger women. They go to clubs, and drink and dance. They injure themselves and end up putting the heels away for a good three to six months.”

Kelly Garrett, a Las Vegas-based entrepreneur, knows the agony of the feet all too well.

“In my twenties, it was all about the latest style regardless of the cost. Who knew the price I would pay in my thirties would be constant back pain and fallen arches? As I sneak up on 40, I know that sensible is sexy. Well, that’s what I tell myself anyway. Now, I can still walk the walk, but just without the morning after regret that inevitably follows slipping on those six inch heels.”

Her sentiments reflect Dr. Silverberg’s concerns; however he said there are some preventative measures women can take if they refuse to ditch their massive heels permanently.

“Give the heels a break once in a while. I know it is difficult for some women to do that, but wear a shoe with a lower heel and a wider toe box. Also, avoid excessive drinking and/or running while wearing high heels. That’s when all the bad accidents occur,” he said. Dr. Silverberg also suggests placing insoles in the shoes for cushioning and having no-skid grippers on the bottom of shoes to prevent slipping.

Despite all the warnings, one woman refuses to give up her heels, no matter what.

Amanda Kouretas, Mrs. Nevada-America 2011 and self-professed glam-mom, said, “I will never give up my heels! I wear Jimmy Choo wedges to Disneyland. I won’t be sensible until I’m forced to. There’s nothing wrong with being a mom in heels. When I’m not in heels I walk barefoot on my tippy toes like I have Barbie feet.”

And in the end, even the good Dr. Silverberg isn’t impervious to the charms of a woman in high heels. When asked if he ever wonders why women squeeze their feet in these modern foot binders, Dr. Silverberg said, “I would be a hypocrite if I said so, because I like to see my wife in high heels.”