Very High Heels Affect the Achilles Tendon

October 31, 2010 Updated: October 1, 2015
HIGH HEELS: A University of California podiatrist says there is nothing good about them. (Photos.com)
HIGH HEELS: A University of California podiatrist says there is nothing good about them. (Photos.com)

A study published in the Journal of Experimental Biology found that high-heeled shoes cause hardening of the tendons of the calf.

Professor Marco Narici of Manchester Metropolitan University, said that ever since women began wearing high heels in the 1950s, secretaries have been complaining about having to walk in them.

To determine the causes of this malaise, researchers selected 11 volunteers from a group of 80 women who had worn 5-centimeter (2-inch) heels for two years. Magnetic resonance imaging showed no difference in the size of the calf muscles of women who wore high heels compared to the women’s group that used only flat shoes.

But an ultrasound showed a difference in the size of the muscle fibers. It was discovered the muscle fibers of the women who had worn high heels suffered a 13 percent elongation over the muscles of those who used flat shoes.

Researchers found that the angle of the heel on women wearing high heels was greater because they had a shorter calf, and the tendons were thicker and harder.

Kathryn Moss, a San Francisco podiatrist, said there is nothing good about high heels, which affect the Achilles tendon and create pressure on the front of the foot.

The feet are one of the most dynamic parts of our body. They allow us to stand upright, move, run, dance, and jump, but they are also often one of the most neglected parts of our anatomy.

Correction: In the previous version of this article, Kathryn Moss's professional affiliation was stated incorrectly. We regret this error.