17 March 2000

All that’s old is new again…

by Kate Melville

Women think high heeled shoes look great, that is until they take them off and display misshapen feet, or limp along after rupturing their Achilles tendon. Well if adults are prepared to wear these stupid things in the name of fashion then it should come as no surprise that kids and teens want them as well. Right now the hottest item are platform shoes (you might remember then from the 1970s).

Anyway these popular shoes can cause major foot problems, particularly for pre-teens who wear shoes with heels that are more than 3 inches high. The slope of the sole puts extra stress on the forefoot and abnormally shortens the Achilles tendon.

This is a very bad thing according to James Thomas, D.P.M., Assistant Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. "Typically, the growth plate at the heel hasn't closed before the ages 12 or 13, when you're asking for trouble by wearing heels".

But in the end fashion will probably win out and at least the current crop of platform shoes are at least reasonably wide and flat, which is an improvement over stilettos and narrow shoes that also ruin ankles.