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UK needs new laws to stop mandatory high heel wear

Wednesday 2nd August 2017
Women should not be forced to wear high heels due to the associated health risks, a new report has ruled. Image: anyaberkut via iStock
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No workplace or social venue should be allowed to force women to wear high heels, a new review into the matter has ruled.

Researchers from the University of Aberdeen have been examining whether strict dress codes determining which footwear can be worn should ever be necessary, exploring the effects on people's long-term podiatry health.

The team reviewed a number of previous studies that showed wearing high heels regularly can result in an increased risk of bunions and musculoskeletal pain developing and personal injuries being sustained.

What's more, there is evidence to suggest that people wearing high heels are more likely to cause injury to others too, but further research needs to be carried out with regard to this.

They also explored the link between long-term high heel-wearing and the onset of osteoarthritis, but found that there was no clear correlation, although many report weakness and pain in their leg and feet bones after wearing high-heeled footwear.

Despite the serious long-term health risks associated with these types of shoes, the research found that men find women who are wearing high heels more attractive, while many females also feel more confident when wearing them.

Yet the study authors are calling on the government to make it illegal for employers and venue owners to insist that women wear high heels. They suggest that this could be similar to the laws that are in place in British Columbia, Canada, where businesses are not allowed to ask staff to specifically wear high-heeled shoes.

In addition, the researchers want more to be done by podiatrists and other experts to raise awareness of the potential health implications of regularly wearing high heels.

Lead author of the review Dr Max Barnish commented: "We feel the UK government should follow the lead of other authorities who have introduced specific laws to tackle this practice rather than simply relying on existing legislation which has left the situation in this country uncertain and open to misinterpretation."

Written by Angela Newbury

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