Evolution of High Heels and Non-Surgical Treatment for Large Calves

In our modern society today, high heels are worn mostly for style over function or practicality. Of all types of footwear that were invented, high heels are probably not the most ideal for walking long distances. 

Women in heels

So how were high heels invented? It is probably difficult to wrap your head around the fact that high heels were exclusively worn by men in the 10th century. 

They were originally made for men who participated in horseback-riding. They wore heels on their boots and shoes to help their feet stay secure in the stirrups while riding. For this reason, cowboy boots still have heels today.

As the style of wearing heels start to influence and spread through Europe, high heels became a fashion statement, but only for the rich. It remained a symbol for the rich and powerful in Europe for several centuries.

In the 17th century, European women started to assert their equality by adopting men’s outfit, including heels in an effort to masculinize their dress sense. Over time, men began to wear thicker heels and women wore skinny heels. This fashion trend began to take off and it was made available to the masses. 

Around the turn of the 19th century, men’s fashion changed drastically. Men stopped wearing heels because they recognized how impractical heels were, and it subsequently fell out of fashion and never made a comeback.

High heels in modern society

In modern society, women wear heels to make them appear taller by lengthening their legs. People were under the influence of media portrayal of high heels, making women on magazine covers wearing them in a sexual way. 

The arching of women’s body and the lengthening of their legs exude a sense of femininity and modernity. In addition, wearing heels is a display of fashion, confidence and power. It can be worn as a semi-formal, formal, or even in a professional setting.

Does wearing heels lead to enlargement of calves?

Wearing high-heeled shoes is often associated with a myriad of health issues such as musculoskeletal pain along the spine, heel pain and plantar calluses. 

In addition, wearing high heels places pressure and tension on the lower spine and foot. Studies found that the higher the heels, the more pressure it puts on certain points of the foot, instead of evenly distributing the body weight across the foot.

Calf muscles

Women who wear high heels daily may also develop large calf muscles and tendons. According to Dr. Siew Tuck Wah of Radium Medical Aesthetics, he said that wearing heels stretch the muscles in the front, tighten and shorten the calf muscles, and cause inflammation of the legs and ankles.

MRI was done on women who wear heels and it was found that habitual wearing of this iconic fashion statement confirmed that it results in shortening of calf muscles, and Achilles tendon to stiffen and become thicker. 

“Women generally think that wearing heels lead to enlarged calf muscles. However, this is not entirely accurate,” says Dr. Siew. 

While some women strive for toned calf muscles, some are desperately trying to reduce muscle bulk. Huge calf muscles may be result of poor genes, poor nutrition, or overexertion due to prolonged or repetitive physical activities.

Treatment of enlarged calves

Most aesthetic clinics offer calf remodelling using Botulinum Toxin, or commonly known as ‘Botox’.

Enlarged calves may disrupt the silhouette of a slim, feminine-looking woman. It can throw off the balance of proportion essential in the ideal female form.

Doctors generally recommend regular Botox calf treatments to achieve the best results. Micro-injections of botulinum toxin are made on the calves, requiring very little or no recovery time. 

Calf muscles can be shaped based on client’s expectations, redefining calf shape by targeting the large muscles, causing them to relax temporarily. In the hands of inexperienced doctors, Botox calf treatments may lead to mild leg weakness. 

This is a non-permanent treatment that lasts for about 6 months, and repeated treatment is required to maintain the results.

Speak to your doctor to find out more about Botox calf treatment.

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