one version of many stories that summarize a recent medical article
debunking the main health risk of high heels; similar summaries are found on
the web in 161 locations. (Type
“Journal of Epidemiology and
Community Health” and “high heels” into Google.)
This story has relevance to the issue of the supposed unhealthy
effects of corsets (and girdles) for the following reasons.
First, just because there’s a plausible (“stands-to-reason”)
connection between a garment and a health problem, and just because there is
also a greater incidence of a health problem in the sex that wears the
garment, doesn’t mean there is a necessary
problem with that garment. (An
example is the causative relation people used to think existed was that
between wearing a tight hat-band (which only men did regularly) and going
bald. Another example is
scoliosis (twisted spine); because it affects roughly eight times more girls
than boys, it “stood to reason” to anti-corset physicians in the 19th
century that corsets were the cause.)
just because specialist-doctors are quoted as condemning a garment (as many
foot doctors have condemned high heels) doesn’t mean that they have any
real insight into the matter. They
may well be just going along with the crowd and endorsing the popular and
plausible connection that everyone else is making.
(Victorian doctors were notoriously unanimous and emphatic in blaming
masturbation for causing insanity, for instance.)
Moreover, he may be merely expressing the prejudices of his
society’s elite. Items which
are related to body modification have undertones of paganism and/or
frivolity and/or sensuality, all of which are on the no-no lists of
“respectable opinion,” whether Christian or rationalist (which
encompasses most of feminism).
an excerpt from the
conclusion treads heavily on conventional medical wisdom of the last 250
years or so, which has blamed high heels for sore backs, corns, sprained
ankles, abnormal gait, ingrown toenails, shortened calf muscles and
here’s the study-summary itself:
Heels Could Be Good For Your Knees, British Researchers Find
many women suffer from arthritis of the knee joint that doctors speculated
that wearing high heels might trigger the condition, but they found being
overweight before the age of 40 was much more likely to increase the risk in
older women. About two per cent of over-55s suffer from knee osteoarthritis
and the condition is twice as common in women as it is in men. In the survey
of 111 women aged 50 to 70, 29 had varying degrees of knee pain.
Fitzpatrick, a professor at the university, said 55.2 per cent of the women
with knee arthritis had worn eight-centimetre heels regularly compared with
67.1 per cent of the healthy women. "Several factors were significantly
associated with osteoarthritis of the knee, including previous knee injury,
heavy smoking and being overweight. But wearing high heels was not one of
them," he said.
"If anything, wearing high heels seemed to be associated with a reduced risk."
MORE PERTINENT COMMENTARY, the last most contemporary:
Tests for Balance O.K. High Heels (Aug, 1939)
Filed under: Just Weird, Personal Appearance — @ 3:14 pm
Source: Popular Science 8-1939
Tests for Balance O.K. High Heels
A METAL pencil has just written upon smoked paper a vindication of high-heeled shoes for women. Testing their effect upon body balance, Dr. Walter Mendenhall, of Boston, finds that girls wearing the much-maligned footgear can often stand more steadily than barefoot subjects. The telltale pencil, attached by a headband, recorded
a subject’s wavering upon a chart.
The High-Heels Controversy (Nov, 1957)
Filed under: Personal Appearance — @ 12:05 am
Source: Science Digest 11-1957
High-heeled shoes are physically and psychologically best for women’s wear, says a British doctor, contrary to the opinions of many authorities.
Careful tests on special scales have shown, said Dr. Owen McDonagh, that high heels throw the weight onto the heel rather than onto the toes, as is frequently charged.
Physically, he said, the added weight on the heel eliminates slouching, produces more healthy breathing, and adds inches to the bust.
“But the greatest effect is the psychological one,” Dr. McDonagh went on, climaxing a debate carried on in the British Medical Journal.
“Long legs are admired, and the high heel gives the impression of greater leg length. They give a sensation of slimness.”
A different opinion came from Dr. Reginald Payne, according to the Chicago Tribune, who said high heels produce bow legs and knock knees, and that if men tried to put animals into such contraptions, every anti-cruelty league would have a fit.
How can you have “bow legs and knock knees” at the same time?
Comment by Sorcerer Mickey — September 26, 2007
Comment of site owner: Wow, not only are high-heels good for women, apparently they give them bigger breasts!
High-heel shoes shoot up female sex life: Study
Posted online: Wednesday, February 06, 2008 at 1440 hrs IST
London, February 6: "The sight of stilettos may shoot up a man’s libido. But, if a study is to be believed, wearing the high-heel shoes can boost a woman’s sexual desire.
Researchers in Italy have found that wearing higher heels - earlier linked to a range of problems - actually improves a woman’s pelvic floor muscles, thereby boosting her sex life.
“Women often have difficulty in carrying out the right exercises for the pelvic zone and wearing heels could be the solution. It’s good to know they have potential health benefits,” according to lead researcher Dr Maria Cerruto.
The researchers analysed a study of 66 women aged under 50 before coming to the conclusion.
They found that those who held their foot at a 15 degree angle to the ground had as good posture as those who wore flat shoes, and crucially showed less electrical activity in the pelvic muscles, an essential component of female body.
According to the researchers, this suggested the muscles were at an optimum position, which could well improve their strength and ability to contract.
However, Gill Brook, a women’s health physiotherapist in Britain, stressed the study did not suggest that stilettos were a good thing for those keen on improving their pelvic floor function.
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