Entries in High Heels (7)


High Heel Workout: High Fun or High Danger?

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- You don’t normally strap on your high heels to go to the gym, but in the world of “Heel Hop” you do.

The newest exercise craze is just your typical fitness class, complete with stretches, sit-ups -- and stilettos.

“Heels have such a stigma and I’ve made my money in heels,” said Kamilah, the one-named wonder behind the high heels-required exercise class, in an interview with ABC News.

“I came straight out of the womb with some high heel pumps,” she said.  “I feel more of myself and I feel even more graceful than being in tennis shoes."

Kamilah, a backup dancer for music stars like 50 Cent and R. Kelly and herself a finalist on Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance, had the idea to combine her love of heels with her love of exercise.

“I studied with Bally Total Fitness and infused all of that together, along with my dance background, and created something really safe, really fun and really sexy for women to do,” she said.

Kamilah trademarked her 60-minute, all-high-heel workout and currently teaches it in her Los Angeles studio, as well as for clients from New York City to Tokyo and Moscow.

Women have been warned for years, of course, of the damage walking in high heels can do to their body, so how can exercising in them be good for you?  It can’t, argue some doctors.

“They [high heels] are a very unstable type of shoe for your body,” Dr. James Braxton Little, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based podiatrist, told ABC News.  “Exercising in them just doesn’t make sense in any way, shape or form.”

Kamilah says she is living proof, however, that when worn correctly, high heels are not a danger, whether you’re exercising in them or just walking around.

“To this day, I am still performing in high heels and I don’t have a bunion,” she said.  “When you get in them [heels], you want to know how you are supposed to feel.”

Kamilah’s tip for surviving in high heels is "to shop for the right shoe that’s right for you.  You have to shop for function and you have to shop for sport.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Is Cosmetic Surgery for Feet the Solution for Shoe Lovers?

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Charmaine Gumbs is a self-proclaimed high heel shoe fanatic with everything in her shoe collection from Jimmy Choos to the same ’40s-style pair of heels once worn by Madonna.

“A beautiful pair of shoes can suck me in,” Gumbs, from Brooklyn, N.Y., told ABC's Good Morning America.

But for Gumbs, her love of high heels came with a price: living with pain in the ball of her foot when she wore her favored shoes.

“It burns and it’s like fire,” she said.  “I have my New Year’s Eve Jimmy Choos that I have not put on my foot yet because I am afraid of them…that heel.”

Gumbs chose to take action to fix her pain, becoming one of a number of women across the country choosing to fix their toes instead of giving up their favorite pumps, or even their sandals.

When Jennifer Pyron, a 27-year-old from New York City, had to stop wearing her favorite summer shoes because they were being ruined by sweat from her toes, she decided to have a cosmetic procedure.

“A lot of people have the problem, especially women that want to wear great shoes,” said Dr. Suzanne Levine, a podiatrist at the Institute Beaute in New York City who treated both Pyron and Gumbs.  “They [women] don’t want their shoes ruined.  It really is quite a problem.”

Dr. Levine injected Pyron’s feet with Botox to lessen the sweating.  She treated high heel shoe-lover Gumbs’s pain by injecting a biodegradable cushioning into her foot, a filler similar to what people have injected into their smile lines.

The cushioning, which replaces the natural cushioning in the foot, will last about nine months, according to Dr. Levine.

The patient, Gumbs, said she realizes that the procedure may seem crazy to others, but it is worth it to her.

“Not when you love shoes,” she said of the other option, to not wear high heels.

One week after the treatment, Gumbs found herself pain-free.

“I feel not so frightened by my shoes anymore because I love them,” she said.  “I look forward to wearing them in comfort, not in agony.”

Pyron also found relief in her feet after her Botox injection.

“Once it kicked in I totally noticed a difference,” she said.

Not all doctors agree, however, that operating on one’s feet to be able to wear a certain type or pair of shoes is a good idea.

“I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with plastic surgery,” said Dr. David Levine, Assistant Attending Orthopaedic Surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City (and no relation to Dr. Suzanne Levine).  “I have no problem if someone wants to change their nose, or change their boobs.  But you don’t walk on your boobs.”

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


What Do Your Shoes Say About You?

Comstock/Thinkstock(LAWRENCE, Kan.) -- What's in a shoe? Surprising clues about a person's personality, a new study found.

From photos of shoes, college students were able to accurately predict the owners' age, gender and approximate income, as well as some subtler character quirks.

"You can get an amazing amount of information from a person in just a fraction of a second," said Christian Crandall, a professor of social psychology at the University of Kansas and lead author of the study published in the August issue of the Journal of Research in Personality.  "Nobody doubts that faces, heads and hairdos tell a lot about a person.  But we thought, 'What about the other weird parts?  What about shoes?'"

Sometimes fancy, sometimes functional, shoes are the "sole" of an outfit, according to Crandall. "Clothes are a costume, and shoes are a part of that," he said.  "You're never more dressed up than your shoes."

Crandall and colleagues used personality tests to see which shoe-based stereotypes stood up. "Sometimes they're accurate, sometimes they're not," he said.  

Here's what your shoes say about you:


People who wear high-tops tend to be standoffish and introverted, the study found.  They're also less likely to be agreeable and conscientious.  But when it comes to high-tops, Crandall said the rest of the outfit can change everything.  "If someone's wearing a suit and red canvas Chuck Taylors, I know about the person's willingness to bend the rules a bit," he said.  "Red canvas shoes are somewhat interesting, but red canvas shoes paired with a suit say much more."  One stereotype that failed to hold up is that high-top owners are less emotionally stable.


Perhaps unsurprisingly, people who wore stylish new shoes were likely to earn more money, the study found.  "If someone's wearing Christian Louboutins, we know they probably care about their appearance and have money to buy expensive shoes," said Crandall.  "That red sole says, 'I spent a lot on these.'"  Stereotypes that high-fashion shoe owners are less agreeable, more conscientious and more likely to be Republican failed to match up with people's actual personalities and political views.

Snazzy Sneaks

People who wear bright, colorful, brand name sneakers tend to be more emotionally stable, according to the study.  They're also less likely to have attachment anxiety, a personality trait marked by ambivalence and negativity.  But stereotypes that people with flashy footwear are more extroverted and open to experiences didn't hold up.  "People often choose shoes to send a message, but the message isn't necessarily true," said Crandall.  "Fun-looking shoes do not a fun person make."

Old Standbys

People who wear worn-in shoes tend to be more extroverted and emotionally stable, according to the study.  Worn out shoes in need of repair, however, generate stereotypes that the owner is conscientious but standoffish.  But those stereotypes didn't hold up.

Comfy Kicks

Despite the stereotype that Birkenstock owners are liberal, people who wear comfortable shoes have no distinctive personality traits or political views, according to the study. "We had plenty of Birkenstock owners in our study," said Crandall, who disputes the comfort of the cork-bottomed sandals.  "I have high arches," he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Jessica Simpson Pregnant in Stilettos; Is It Safe?

Alo Ceballos/FilmMagic(LOS ANGELES) -- Even with her huge baby bump, Jessica Simpson is sticking to her heels.

The pregnant singer recently stepped out to do a bit of shopping in towering platform heels.  She coordinated brown sky-high peep-toe shoes with a suede handbag and long rust-colored dress.

Fortunately, she had an assistant with her to tote around the bags she collected during a shopping excursion at Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills.

The 31-year-old pop star and actress, who is engaged to NFL player Eric Johnson, told Us Weekly she had no intention of going lighter on her feet.

"I'm probably going to deliver my baby in these [4-inch YSL heels]," she joked to the magazine.

Stilettos for pregnant women are not inherently dangerous, according to doctors.  But when a woman's weight and shape change during pregnancy, so does her center of gravity.  Because of this, Simpson may be more prone to falls, falls that could have dire consequences.  Otherwise, a lot of the risk is to her own comfort.

Dr. Manuel Porto, professor and chairman of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of California Irvine Medical Center, also said that most pregnant women use an arched back posture to accommodate the change, which often leads to low back pain.  Wearing high-heeled shoes and boots can exacerbate the problem, especially as feet start to swell in the later months.

"Most obstetricians recommend that patients wear flat shoes or those with less than a two-inch heel, especially in the third trimester," Porto said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Common Causes of Low Back Pain

Keith Brofsky/Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Low back pain is one of the most disabling conditions in the U.S., and experts say that 80 percent of Americans will suffer from it at some point in their lives.  It's estimated that back pain costs more than $90 billion a year in lost productivity and work days.

While back pain can be debilitating for many who live with it, in most cases it can be treated non-surgically, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.  Exercise and staying fit are among the best treatments, back specialists say.  Lifting objects using the legs while holding objects away from the body is one of the best ways to prevent it.

There are numerous causes for low back pain, ranging from muscle strains to ordinary daily activities that people don't realize can lead to back problems.  ABC News talked to several experts about some of these lesser-known causes of lower back pain.


Overweight and obese adults are more likely to have disc degeneration in their lower back than normal-weight adults, according to a new study published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism.

Disc degeneration occurs when the discs of the spine start to break down, and it sometimes causes low back pain.  While disc degeneration is part of the normal aging process, researchers in China found that among 2,599 Chinese men and women, body mass index (BMI) was significantly higher in people with disc degeneration.

They also found that underweight participants were significantly less likely to have degenerative disc disease.

"When you look at their underweight group compared to other groups, it's a very compelling observation that there's a clear association between weight and disc degeneration," said Dr. Scott Boden, professor of orthopedic surgery and director of the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center in Atlanta.

Exactly what that association is, however, is harder to establish.  The authors believe weight gain may cause physical stress on the disc and, in addition, chronic inflammation brought on by the fat cells can lead to disc degeneration.


"Sitting is worse than standing.  Sitting for long periods of time puts pressure on your back, especially if you're not using core muscles to support your back," said Dr. Nick Shamie, associate professor of spine surgery at Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica, Calif.

What's even worse is sitting and leaning forward to pick up something from the floor, which places the maximum amount of force on the lower back, he added.  Instead of leaning and reaching, Shamie explained the best way to pick something up is to get on the knees, pick it up and keep the object close to the body.

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke recommends sitting in a chair with good lower back support.  If sitting for a long time, people should rest their feet on a low stool or stack of books.  But if possible, switch sitting positions and get up and walk around a bit throughout the day.

Mattress Type

Whether a soft mattress or a firm mattress is better for the back is up for debate.  There hasn't been a lot of research on it, but a 2003 study found that people who slept on medium-firm mattresses reported less back pain.

"If a bed is either too stiff or too soft, it's likely to cause back problems, but there is a lot of individual variation on that," said Dr. Richard Deyo, professor of family medicine at Oregon Health and Sciences University in Portland.  "You need enough support so the spine is not sagging, but you don't want it so rigid that the spine is forced into an unnatural position."

High Heels

There's nothing to definitively link wearing high heels to the increased likelihood of developing back pain, but experts say it does make sense.

"Having the heel elevated changes the posture and probably forces the lower back into more of an extended position, and that can be painful over time," said Deyo.

But Shamie said wearing high heels is more likely to affect other parts of the body more than the back.

"High heels can put a lot of stress on your feet, but not as much on your lower back," he said.

Purses and Backpacks

"It makes perfect sense that if you have a heavy backpack, there's definitely a potential risk for injuring your lower back and other joints," said Shamie.

In general, he said, maximum weight should be no more than 10 to 15 percent of body weight.

Deyo, however, said the backpack issue has been controversial, and study findings have been conflicting.  Nonetheless, it's probably wise to get an extremely heavy load off the back if possible.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Does Wearing High Heels Cause Permanent Damage?

Comstock/Thinkstock(SANTA MONICA, Calif.) -- The pain you feel while walking in your 6-inch Louboutins and sky-high Prada pumps is a symptom of the real damage high heels may be doing to your body, new research finds.

“The structure of the foot is just not meant to be crammed in the shoe that way,” Dr. Braxton Little, a podiatrist at the UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica, Calif., told ABC News. “It just puts the body in a very unnatural position.”

A first-of-its-kind study published last week in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that wearing high heels could lead to permanent damage of the calf muscles by increasing the mechanical strain on the muscles and shortening the muscles’ fibers, all thanks to the flexed, toes-pointed position of the feet that remains even after you kick off those stilettos.

The Australian study looked at nine women, who ranged in age from late teens to early 30s, and had worn high heels for at least 40 hours per week for the past two years.

Researchers, as reported in The New York Times, used ultrasound probes, electrodes and motion-capture markers to monitor the women as they walked, barefoot and then in heels, along a 26-foot-long walkway.

The findings suggest that the women in high heels walked with “shorter, more forceful strides” and engaged their muscles as opposed to their tendons, leaving them vulnerable to injury and prone to muscle fatigue, the Times reported.

“We think that the large muscle strains that occur when walking in heels may ultimately increase the likelihood of strain injuries,” Dr. Neil Cronin, one of the study’s lead researchers, told the Times.

The damage for heel-wearers is not eased by switching to sneakers or flats, according to the study, because that only increases the risk of injury by forcing the foot into a new position.

The repeated wearing of high heels is widely known to increase the risk of such conditions as osteoarthritis, hammer toes, bunions and corns, but doctors said the damage could be happening in areas beyond the legs, such as the back, and in areas and ways not immediately evident, such as the heart.

“Inflammation inside your body can happen anywhere.  It can happen from wearing shoes,” Little, who was not involved in the Australian study, told ABC News. “When we put your foot into a shoe, it has nowhere to go but to bind the toes.”

Homing in on the point, researchers in England last week also released a study, published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases Journal, that found wearing high heels could lead to flat feet, as it can weaken the tendons that support the arch of the foot, leading it to fall, which causes pain and can make it difficult to walk.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Pregnant in Heels: Is it Dangerous?

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Beyonce take note: Victoria Beckham learned the hard way what happens when celebrities are unwilling to sacrifice fashion for pregnancy.

Beckham, who gave birth to her fourth child, daughter Harper, in July, has been seen sporting flats around town instead of her usual towering heels after she reportedly suffered a slipped disc.

The former Posh Spice, who has been known to tool around town in five-inch stilettos, wore high heels even in the late stages of her pregnancy -- but not without cost.  It's presumed that heels are to blame for her slipped disc and that she is now under doctor's orders to wear flat shoes.

If other stars have taken note of Beckham's predicament, they are not letting on.

After announcing on the red carpet of the MTV Video Music Awards that she was expecting her first child, Beyonce later rocked the stage in a pair of high heels while performing "Love on Top!"  At the end of her set, she opened her sparkly tuxedo jacket and rubbed her obviously swollen belly.

Stilettos for pregnant women are not inherently dangerous, according to doctors.  But when a woman's weight and shape changes during pregnancy, so does her center of gravity.  Because of this, she may be more prone to falls, which could have dire consequences.  Otherwise, a lot of the risk is to her own comfort.

Dr. Manuel Porto, professor and chairman of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of California Irvine Medical Center, also said that the arched back posture that is used by most pregnant women to accommodate the change leads to low back pain.  Wearing high-heeled shoes and boots can exacerbate those problems, especially as feet start to swell in the later months.

"Most obstetricians recommend that patients wear flat shoes or those with less than a two-inch heel, especially in the third trimester," Porto said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio