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ScienceShot: High Heels Come With a Price

Think 15 bucks for those sassy red heels is a great bargain? Your tendons don't. Using MRI and ultrasound technology, researchers compared the calf muscles and Achilles tendons of women who frequently wear high heels with those of women who mainly wear flat shoes. They report online tomorrow in the Journal of Experimental Biology that the muscle fibers of the calves of women who wear high heels are 13% shorter than those of women who wear flats. The tendons of high-heels wearers, although unexpectedly no different in length, were about 20% less flexible than the tendons of flat-shoe wearers. The researchers posit that although the extra rigidity of the tendon makes up for the lost muscle function, it causes pain once the pumps come off and the tendons have to stretch again.

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