Study: High-Heeled Clackers Cause Shorter Calf Muscles
July 16, 2010
(ChattahBox)—Jimmy Choo, Manolo Blahnik, Prada, just a glimpse of these designer high heel shoes send most women into a fashion frenzy, whom would gladly dine on macaroni and cheese for a month to afford to shell out $500.00 and up for a pair. They click and clack and sparkle and make our legs look longer and shapelier, but beauty comes with a cost. A new study performed on the high-heeled wearing masses has found that the long-term wearing of towering clackers shortens our calf muscles and thickens our Achilles heels, making it painful to walk barefoot.
The British study was conducted by Marco Narici of Manchester Metropolitan University, Robert Csapo, from the University of Vienna and Olivier Seynnes. A group of women between the ages of 20 and 50, having regularly worn high heels at least 2-inches high for 2 years or more, participated in the study. The study participants had also complained of discomfort while walking barefoot.
The results were dramatic. Their calf muscles were found to be 13 percent shorter than non high heel wearing women. And their Achilles tendons also were transformed.
“Next Csapo and Seynnes used ultrasound to measure the muscle fibre length in the women’s calf muscles, and this time they did see a difference. The high heel wearers’ muscle fibres were 13% shorter than those of the women who wore flat shoes.” [...]
“However, the high heel fans’ tendons were much thicker and stiffer than the flat shoe wearers’. Narici and his team realised that by thickening and stiffening, the Achilles’ tendon compensates for the shortened muscle fibres in the calf muscle, allowing the fashion addicts’ calf muscles to function optimally as they walk, but causing discomfort when walking on flat feet because the tendon cannot stretch sufficiently.”
Does this mean women should give up their designer high-heel shoe habit? No. Whew! Are shorter calf muscles and thicker Achilles tendons life threatening? No, but Narici recommends that fashionistas perform foot stretching exercises to avoid injury and pain.