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Friday, October 22, 2010

Kelly Ripa’s Charity is a Podiatrists Nightmare

Many know Kelly Ripa for her days in daytime drama starring on the legendary soap opera All My Children. She fell into superstardom when she hit the talk show host scene on Regis and Kelly. Now Kelly is turning heads while racing through central park in high heels!!! In an annual charity event sponsored by Regis and Kelly and Zappos.com, Kelly and many other women raced in high heels. The event was to raise awareness and money for women’s heart heath and The Heart Truth, a national campaign combating women’s heart disease. I am all about raising money for good causes, but in 3 inch stilettos? Running in high heels is near insanity.

Running shoes are designed specifically to absorb the impact of running and accommodating the foot forces on the terrain. When running, your feet take on an impact of forces that is three times greater than your weight. Athletic shoes are made out of shock absorbing materials that help reduce the amount force that gets transmitted through your knees and back.

There is a growing culture of runners who are ditching shoes all together and going barefoot. Some small studies have been done looking at the biomechanics of this naked foot running, but most results have been inconclusive. The current belief is that when running barefoot, you change your running style and run more on your toes than your heel. This promotes a softer step and less impact is transmitted through your body. It is also noted that you must have a healthy, rectus foot for barefoot running to be beneficial. Unfortunately, most Americans do not have a healthy foot structure.

So if running on your toes causes less impact and high heels force you to bear all of your weight on your toes, shouldn’t stiletto racing be to our benefit? In high heels, your foot doesn’t have any control. You are still confined to the narrow space of tight shoe. It is also difficult to clear the heel from hitting the ground. The distinct style of barefoot running that causes less impact on the body takes many months of training and foot strengthening. I cannot find any correlation between the benefits of forefoot running, or barefoot running and high heel running.

Nail avulsion or damage, blisters, lacerations, sprains, and fractures are only a few injuries that will dominate a stiletto race. I think it would be easier to run to the ATM in sneakers. I’ll happily donate to the cause, but you won’t be catching me in red high heels, especially since I am not that kind of guy. It is very commendable for these women to stand up to women’s heart disease and I am inspired by their strength and daring attitude. Hopefully they all survived the race with healthy feet and hearts full of joy. Kelly Ripa always keeps us on our toe! If you have an inspiring way to raise awareness of heart disease, visit http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/index.htm.