The tick-tack of high heels usually spells high-end fashion! But do you know that wearing stilettos on a regular basis entails health hazards? Experts say slipped disc, knee arthritis and plantar fasciitis (a painful inflammation on the sole of the foot) are common problems faced by women who wear them on regular basis.
Lately, Hollywood actress Sarah Jessica Parker confessed that she had to pay the price for her fondness for sky-high pumps - deformed feet!
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 told IANS.
Age is no bar when it comes to high-heels-related health hazards.
If women as old as 50 visit Sharma for the same problem, his clients list also has young girls in the 20-30 age-group.
Neeraj Mehta, fitness expert and director of GFFI Fitness Academy, has clients aged between 22 and 32 who have fallen prey to such ailments. Each month around five to six women consult him.
Satnam Singh Chhabra, head, department of neuro spine, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, also said that mostly young and middle-aged women consult him for such problems.
"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," said Sharma.
Before the problem aggravates, the body gives out warnings.
"There are several symptoms such as pain in the toes, mid-foot, heel, ankle, knee, hip and back. Sometimes, people also start having headaches," Chhabra said.
He suggests fit and comfort should be given priority while selecting footwear.
"Your shoes should be properly fitted. Try to relax by wearing comfortable running shoes while going to distant places," said Chhabra.
The problem can be tackled by going in for a diet that helps improve blood circulation.
"The diet should be healthy and plant-centred so that it can help in proper blood circulation and tissues can feel relaxed," he said.
Exercises, too, help.
Mehta said: "If they are standing or sitting with heels on, they can do a lot of stretches for their foot like dorsiflexion, plantarflexion, eversion and inversion," he said.
Chhabra said women can avoid back pain, slipped disc and more by sticking to heels not higher than 1.5 inches, while Sharma feels wedge heels can be helpful.