The Dangers of and Damages Caused by Wearing High Heels

Why do we succumb to the expectations of society and wear shoes that are do more damage than good all for the sake of impressing a materialistic society? That’s the question I began to ask myself after years of torturous trials and tribulations with trendy footwear of the heel variety. They are uncomfortable, expensive and damaging, but women continue to wear them and I don’t think it’s because they feel good. “Two bunions and some knee pain later”, I have officially refused to wear any shoes just for “fashion’s sake (Well, with the exceptions of weddings and funerals and only if the heal is 2 inches and less).

I’ve been the in the corporate world, but I first started out in a production job that allowed me to wear tennis shoes. Then I moved to a desk position, but I worked for a guy who was very laid back and didn’t care what I had on my feet. Soon after I was promoted once again to work under a former “Miss Georgia.” Needless to say, the wrath of the fashion police was about to come down upon me with a fiery vengeance.

My clothes were analyzed and some of them passed, but all of my shoes failed. She pulled items straight from her closet that were practically brand-new and soon, I was transformed and very uncomfortable. Trying to walk at work looked very much like a young child trying to walk on stilts-step, step, stumble-and wasn’t a graceful site in the least. Some days I felt like I would never get to my desk. As soon as I did reach my cubicle, I would kick my shoes off and wiggle my toes that were screaming for oxygen and room.

My heels hurt and my arches felt like they were stretched beyond belief and were on the verge of snapping. Other parts of my legs hurt like my shins, knees, and thighs. I began to hate the shoes and secretly swore to burn them one day by dousing them first with kerosene and laughing before I lit the match. Then the scenario would be ruined by an interruption, “We have to go upstairs to for a meeting then we have to greet guests and escort them to the show.” In my head I added, “Where we will stand for the next 60 minutes on over arched, too narrow of a foot bead, and outrageously tall heels of death. I can’t wait.”

When the shoe hand out stopped, I was released from the nest (with an observing eye) to buy my own pair of heels whether they were boots or sandals or any other type of style the beauty queen threw at me. Whatever they were, she would always say, “These are stylish and worth every penny.” I remember when looking at the price tags, my eyes would widen and my feet would scream, “No, please don’t put me in those things. I’ll massage myself from now onâÂ?¦anythingâÂ?¦just not those torture chambers.” I could also hear my husband’s voice, “You spent how much??? $70.00 on shoes that barely cover your feetâÂ?¦.Whatttt!!”

To a lot of women, $70.00 for a sexy pair of heels is a steal as most pay $100.00 or more. That’s not even getting into brands like Gucci or Prada. These prices reflect more towards Gianni Bini or a brand you can get at Dillards (which is where the shoe queen and I frequented). I quickly learned that all high heels were way overpriced and went to Payless without the shoe queen to find something more affordable but equally as damaging. Hey, if I was going to pay the price in the long run, might as well keep the front-end costs low so I could save up for the treatment expenses later.

Finally, I’d had enough of the shoe queen’s demands and worked for a different company altogether. There I ran into the shoe nazi who paid $500.00 to $800.00 a pair for Prada and Gucci heels. I was able to touch a couple of them before shipping them off and they amazingly looked like some I saw at Payless for twelve bucks.

At the new company, I got to experience walking in heels on a concrete floor in a store colored like the MacDonald’s playground. Then I started incorporating black tennis shoes with my black slacks and needless to say, I was left out of many publicity photos. Yet, we advertised “people can come in in their pajamas.” I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not see people who look like the fashion police when I’m in my PJ’s.

Needless to say, I had enough of the fashionistas and drama queens, so I quit. The damage was done. My feet and legs, only 27 years of age, now feel haggard and older than they really are. Now I sit here with mysterious knee aches, varicose veins and two bunions that will need to be removed soon. The only shoes I can really fit into are these Crocs I picked up at the shoe store and amazingly enough, the right one is almost too narrow. I say “amazingly” because these shoes have been compared to actual boats, but hey they float. Doesn’t everyone want a pair of floating shoes that are lightweight and might I add, very versatile?

Now I know that most of you are going to continue obsessing over your high heeled shoes and boot (don’t forget those stilettos that will look great with that black skirt you saw in the window of Saks the other day) continuing to buy more and more until you have your favorite pair in every available color. Before you do, however, I want to point out some rather interesting complications that can arise from having improper footwear. I’ve all ready mentioned the varicose veins, knee pain, and bunions I’ve developed, but I wanted to send another friendly reminder your way. Other problems include bad circulation, nerve damage, hammertoe, spider veins, back problems, thigh pain, ankle weakness, calf muscle disorders (which might account for my pain), osteoarthritis, and stress fractures (http://www.healthatoz.com/healthatoz/Atoz/dc/caz/bone/foot/alert10022001.jsp).

Now that you know some of the problems that can arise, estimate the costs of treatment to fix some of the problems. Remember, though, nerve damage, bad circulation and arthritis cannot be cured and only treated, so think about the costs of medication each month for the rest of your life? Think about your health plan and how much will come out of your pocket and that’s for medications alone. What if you need surgery? How much will that cost you? Let me give you some prices that I found on the internet for surgical procedures dealing with bunion and varicose vein removal.

In 2003, according to an investigation by a WHDH TV out of Boston (http://www2.whdh.com/features/articles/specialreport/A303/), bunion removal cost $5,000 at the doctor’s offices they had interviewed. I then read on another site that you shouldn’t pay over $2500 (http://www.zfootdoc.com/new_page_28.htm) per bunion but I don’t think this includes hospital fees, so make sure you shop around. Hopefully you’ll have the insurance to cover the entire operation and that they will consider the procedure non-cosmetic.

Varicose veins can cost anywhere from $600-$2000 depending on the number needed to be removed. This price doesn’t include anesthesia or hospital fees (http://www.venous-info.com/education/legup/leg07.html). Remember varicose veins will also have to be proven to be harming your health as some insurance will also consider this cosmetic and leave you to pick up the tab.

After you get the procedures done, remember, as soon as you put your foot back into that strappy black pump or stiletto, you are starting the process all over again. For some, buying shoes is a seemingly sweet addiction, that can have irreversible and damaging consequences. With every wear, you feel comparable to the women in the magazines and on the billboards. You feel like you’re going a step further in the office and with your boyfriend, but actually, you’re going two steps closer to the operating table all for the sake of looking good in that pinstripe suit and that sexy black number. Again, I ask, “Why do we succumb to the expectations of society and wear shoes that are do more damage than good all for the sake of impressing a materialistic society?”

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