High heels may be hazardous to your health

11:56 AM, Nov 22, 2011   |    comments
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Her foot was so swollen and bruised she ended up in a brace and at physical therapy for months.

"The doctor actually said it would have been better if I had broken it because it would have healed quicker," she said.

Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Steven Neufeld says he's seeing more and more women like Vargas who end up in his office post-weekend party with foot problems, and it's not just sprains and breaks.

"I'm seeing people with a lot more pain on the ball of their foot," he said. "I'm seeing a lot more bunions and a lot more hammer toes, a lot more nerve pain, calluses that are becoming a problem, corns are becoming a problem."

Neufeld says shoes with a heel more than two inches high puts anywhere from five to eight times your body weight on the ball of your foot, so when women wear these shoes for extended periods of time they can end up with some pretty serious injuries.

Neufeld advises if you can't give up your heels, at least wear a shoe with an open toe. It gives your toes room to move around and it takes some of the pressure off the ball of the foot.

Luz Vargas says her sprained ankle is still healing, but she's already back in her high heels and she says she's not giving them up any time soon.

"Who knows if it's ever going to fully be the same again, but you get used to it," she says.

One study from the American Podiatric Medical Association found that 42 percent of women admitted wearing a shoe they liked even though it was uncomfortable.

Another 73 percent said they had suffered some sort of shoe-related injury in their lifetime.

(Copyright © 2011 NBC Universal, All Rights Reserved)

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