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Mariah Carey BET Honors fashion, foot risk from wearing heels in excess

Mariah Carey has no problem turning up the sex appeal. On the BET Honors 2014, which airs on Feb. 24, check out the plunging neckline dress that the pop artist wore, black gloves included (Jessica Rabbit style). But what may have caught Mariah Carey fans' attention outside of that was that she wasn't wearing shoes while singing her new hit single, "You're Mine." The practical people would think that it's because she didn't want to scratch up a piano. The concerned people would think it's because of her fall during the filming of her "Beautiful" music video (featuring Young Jeezy).

Everybody has that pair of shoes that they treat like it should be on a pedestal. But is the shoe hurting your foot health?
(Shamontiel L. Vaughn)
Do you go a little overboard with wearing heels?
(Shamontiel L. Vaughn)

In a recent The Breakfast Club interview, Mariah Carey blamed the fall on the awkward angles she was standing in to pose for the video.

Hello Magazine suggested that her shoes were the cause of her fall. Carey chipped her shoulder bone, cracked a rib and dislocated her shoulder after falling off a platform.

But were the shoes really worth all that?

According to an interview with "Ellen" during the time Carey was pregnant, before the accident in the summer of 2013, she showed off her "practical" heels after explaining she has a natural arch.

"My feet, like when I was born, that's how they are," Carey said during the interview with host Ellen DeGeneres. "They're permanently in a little high heel."

For women into heels, especially stiletto heels, a naturally high arch may be a bonus. Or not.

Pes cavus: Naturally high arch

Raising an eyebrow about a naturally high arch? Lower it. That's actually a real thing. According to MedlinePlus, pes cavus is an arch that's raised higher than normal. Walking, standing and running may lead to foot pain, but if it's not painful then corrective shoes, arch inserts and a support insole can do the trick.

But what about the average woman who just loves to wear high heels? What kind of damage is she doing to her feet walking in heels everyday?

Cons of high heels

According to the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), one in 10 women wear high heels at least three days per week, and at least one third have fallen in their heels. A third of women may also suffer permanent damage for wearing heels so often--including nerve damage and bunions from shoes with narrow toes, and ingrown toenails and leg tendon damage from unnaturally bending toes on a regular basis.

Heels that are three inches or higher can shorten the Achilles tendon, which is the tendon that allows people to extend their foot and point their toes to the floor. Symptoms of an injury to an Achilles tendon, according to Web MD, include pain along the back of the foot and above the heel, swelling, tenderness, a snapping or popping noise during an injury or difficulty flexing the foot.

Flip-flops aren't a "shoo-in" either

So what does a woman do when her shoes hurt? She may change into flat shoes, but some of those aren't the best choices either. CNN reported that flip-flops are not made to endure walking on concrete, asphalt and steel, which many streets are made of. The rubber soles are usually thin, and without any kind of support, it's also too easy for women to twist their ankles, fall and end up with broken bones.

Thinking of walking around in beach sand with flip-flops on? They're great for protecting feet against hot sand, but be prepared for the risk of rocks and glass getting caught underneath the foot. With a flip-flop, what's going to stop it? The sandals are definitely not suitable for any type of construction area because a nail, screw or even a strong staple can cut straight through the shoe.

And the stress of the entire foot, toes included, holding a flip-flop in place to walk in creates tension. For a short period of time in places like swimming pool locker rooms, getting dressed or undressed for physical education courses in a locker room, a gym locker room or protection while toenails dry after a pedicure, flip-flops serve their purpose -- to temporarily protect the feet. Keyword here: Temporarily.

Does the heel selection in your shoe collection vary?

So what's a woman to do? Sandals are too casual for some places, specifically work attire. Gym shoes definitely won't work and look horrible for a date night out. And flip-flops and heels are catching all kind of flack. The best way to avoid shoe damage is to plan ahead: know where you're going and for how long.

  • Keep a back-up pair of shoes so when the current shoes start to hurt, take them off.
  • Purchase a variety of shoes for all occasions.
  • Consider purchasing heels that are a bit closer to the ground and less unfriendly to the feet. Heels that are 1.5 inches are less strenuous on the feet than 3- or 4-inch heels.
  • Purchase soft foot insoles to lessen the impact on feet while walking.
  • Do not ignore the real size of your feet. In a shoe store, get them properly measured. If a foot is wide, don't wear narrow shoes. If a foot length is 8.5 inches, there's no rationale reason to try to squeeze into a 7-inch shoe.
  • Heels are meant to be cute. Only wear them for those "look cute" days when there's minimal standing or walking. Headed on public transportation? Ditch the heels before walking to a train or bus stop.

Boots, gym shoe safety

Although boots, even with small heels, and gym shoes may seem more comfortable, those can also lead to injury if the correct product isn't purchased. Shoppers would be hard-pressed to find a sales associate that would let gym shoe buyers go outside and jump in the grass, halt, pivot and spring, as this New York Times blog suggests.

What shoe buyers can do:

  • Make sure the shoes have adequate support for the entire foot.
  • Avoid wearing old gym shoes when the padding has worn out. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons even recommends wearing two pairs of socks for added protection.
  • Replace gym shoes when necessary. New York Times reports that shoes can last 400 to 500 miles, and very light models last 300 miles. So how can one be sure of the mileage on shoes considering they're not like car mileage meters where every mile is checked? Pedometers for active fitness gurus can help out with this.

Follow Shamontiel on Pinterest for all of her latest black hair & hair health entries, or subscribe to her Chicago Black Hair & Health channel at the top of this page. Also, follow her @BlackHealthNews.

Follow Shamontiel on Pinterest for all her latest Chicago nutrition and fitness entries, or subscribe to her Chicago Diet and Exercise channel at the top of this page. Also, follow her @BlackHealthNews.

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