Health & Medicine

The docs offer advice: High-heel hazards

Steve Winwood may have thought the “Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys” was, in 1971 slang, “groovy.” But the low moan of the high-heeled girls that’s rockin’ emergency rooms across North America isn’t so melodic.

According to a new study from the University of Alabama Department of Public Health, from 2002 to 2012, the number of reported high-heel injuries doubled. High-heel tip-overs caused 123,300 emergency-department visits, including 19,000 in 2011. Over 80 percent of those injuries were to the ankle or foot; around 20 percent involved the knee, torso, head or neck. Most of the time, the person limped away with a strain or sprain, but 19 percent of the time, bone fractures occurred. That doesn’t include the chronic discomfort, pain and sometimes long-term damage to joints, bones and soft tissue that happens to around 50 percent of well-heeled women. And the most surprising fact is that fully half of the injured don’t even make it out their front door; they’re injured at home!

Gals 20 to 29 are most likely to fall off their pedestals; those 30-39 are the second-most-frequent fallers.

You’d think this would make fashionistas consider alternatives, but the opposite’s true. Organizers of the chic Cannes Film Festival try to insist that all women walking the red carpet wear high heels (this year film producer Valerie Richter says she was initially turned away because she was wearing flats!). Maybe the festival should be renamed “Can’t,” and women should just say, “Au revoir.”

Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into “The Dr. Oz Show” or visit