Scary Real-Life Dangers of Wearing Sky-High Stilettos

By: Alex Villarreal Email
By: Alex Villarreal Email

It's something most women wear on a daily basis, some of us for eight hours at a time.
But, are the stilettos we're wearing really worth all the pain and aggravation?

News 3 looks into the real life dangers of wearing sky-high heels and why some women say it's worth the sacrifice.

Red, purple, sparkly or suede--anyone will tell you a pair of legs looks good in a pair of heels, making your walk, your talk and your dress look hot.

Fawn Preuss said, "High heels make you feel more confident and they at least give us an illusion that we look better."

"I just like to wear them to go out, to have fun, to be pretty," said Cassandra White.

These days, high heels are several inches higher than they were just a few years ago...and designers are daring women to climb to staggering heights in the name of fashion.
This is a 12-inch "armadillo shoe" and "ballet boots" begin at a sky-scraping seven inches.
Women want them and need them, but it's the baddest romance they've ever been in.

"It might sound crazy, but the taller the heel, the more comfortable I felt," said Cassandra White.

She started off with what some call "kitten heels" or "training heels."

"I got, like, an inch, then I went to three inch from there, and then I went to the five inch, and, that was it," White said.

This is her favorite pair, satin Zebra pumps.

White said, "When they came in the mail I was so excited and then I pulled them out and I was like, these are my New Year's Eve shoes!!"

She purposely didn't drink much that night, her sole focus; those black and white striped platforms.

"Everybody was like, I love your shoes, they're so pretty. Everybody kept asking me where I got them, so it was really nice," said White.

15 minutes after ringing in the New Year, it was time to show off the stilettos somewhere else.

White said, "I thought I was stepping on the sidewalk and I was actually stepping into the flower bed."

"When I looked down at my foot, it was turned sideways, inside, to the right...and I was in shock," White said.

Cassandra broke her ankle in three places and had to have emergency surgery at St. Joseph Hospital.
Her new footwear?...ten screws and a metal plate.

White said, "I can't really do anything, except for go to the bathroom and give myself a bath."

I asked, "Do you think that you're ever gonna wear a pair of heels again?"

"Yes, but not five inches," laughed White.

Dr. James Giles has been an orthopaedic surgeon for 28 years.

Dr. Giles said, "Primarily, shoulder to fingertip, hip to knee...any injury in that area, which is a big part of the body, we take care of."

He's seeing about 20% more patients because of foot-related problems...and it's not just women.

We are in Texas after all, and those boots your walkin' in, come with a higher heel.

"When they say my foot was normal when I was in high school, now I've got these corns, callouses, hammer toes, bunions, over ten years, you realize it's probably from shoe wear," Dr. Giles added.

I know what you're thinking, it can't possibly affect my posture that much, or if you've been wearing heels as long as I have, you're used to it by now, right?
Well, let's see...
Like the doc says, the longer we wear them, the more likely we are to have issues in the future.

"I have some issues with my back, my sciatic nerve acts up, where you have shooting pains that go down your leg," said avid high heel wearer, Fawn Preuss.

She likes being nice and tall and feeling small, so instead of wearing what she's supposed to, orthopaedic shoes, she wears high heels.

"I'll wind up with some hip pain, a little bit of back pain and you can just tell your legs feel sore from over compensating," Preuss admitted.

She has some tricks in her bag to deal with the pain of being a high-heeled woman...and she says they're worth it.

Preuss said, "I found toe socks. They look like pantyhose, but they have a pad underneath them with little sticky pieces that help your foot not slide."


Preuss added, "It's a little foam pad that has an adhesive that comes with it, so it's stuck to the bottom of the shoe."


"Taking breaks, you park as close as you can, so you don't have to walk very much," Preuss said.

She also brings a back up pair with her everywhere she goes.

Preuss said, "We just find what works for us until we just can't stand it anymore and then we'll go to the doctor like we're supposed to."

Dr. Giles said, "It's gonna manifest itself somewhere, either a joint above, a joint below, the opposite leg, low back."

Who doesn't like the feeling of getting a compliment?...but you might not be satisfied with the way your feet look years from now.

A treatment known as the Stiletto Prescription or "Pillows for Feet" involves injecting facial fillers into the balls of the feet.
Plus, women are turning to surgical procedures to help shoes fit more comfortably, like foot narrowing and "toe tucks," where the little toe is trimmed down.

While statistics linking injuries to a specific shoe don't exist, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons reports that more than 7 out of 10 women have developed a bunion or other painful foot deformity; 9 out of 10 women's foot deformities can be tied to bad shoes.

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