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well heeledWhile high-platform chopines, leather peep toes and suede stilettos are all set to continue ruling fashion runways in London, Milan, Paris and New York in 2015, research conducted by British orthopaedic specialists last month has revealed that your killer heels are exactly that: killers.

According to lead researcher Andy Goldberg, wearing high heels (two inches or higher) more than three times a week makes you vulnerable to permanent, and often irreversible, health problems such as painful ingrown toenails and weakened leg tendons. This is because when you cram your feet into narrow spaces, your ankle joints bend at sharp angles, causing your foot to slide forward and this puts pressure on your tender toes, causing bunions (bony bumps near joints).

And if this is not enough to temper your heel cravings, research conducted at the University of California Berkeley in 2013 should set off alarm bells. Researchers linked wearing high heels to the onset of osteoarthritis, plantar fasciitis (a foot infection) and debilitating back pain caused by the forced curvature of the spinal cord, a consequence of balancing your weight on pointed heels.

Natalie A. Nevins, an osteopathic physician, explains that women often let vanity override their sensibilities when it comes to making lifestyle choices. Seeing some of the most career-oriented and powerful female characters on screen, wearing toe-scrunching heels, from Alicia Florrick, a successful attorney in The Good Wife or Olivia Pope in Scandal, as they go about their day, does not help.

This does not mean that you have to let your sense of style cripple you; opt for pumps with wide toe boxes so you can wiggle your toes and settle for platform, rather than pencil, heels.

Taking these small steps now will ensure that your feet stay happy in 2015.

– Dr Summaiya Syed-Tariq
The writer is a senior forensic practitioner working at the Police Surgeon’s Office, Karachi. 

First published in the ADBUZZZZ Section of The Dawn Weekend Advertiser on December 28, 2014.