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Not to play Devil's Advocate, but I remembered that a surprising report about a study involving high heels was recently in the news, so I tracked it down and came up with a number of hits all citing a study from Oxford, England. I'm including a link to the WebMD article:

 

High Heels May not Cause Knee Arthritis

 

More surprising, the article said:

<<The surprising finding: Wearing high-heels -- especially dancing in three-inch heels -- had a slight protective effect against knee arthritis. >>

 

So, in joining with the others in questioning this trainer's methods, nothing was said in the article about high heels strengthening feet.

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Sounds pretty creepy to me. :P

 

I do know that it's not good for the metatarsals. I took class for a period of time with Gwendolyn Bye in Philly, and she began a particular class by telling the dancers that the knuckles in their feet should be as pronounced as those in their hands. The guys had no problem. The women in general had a harder time -- and you could tell who the people were who consistently wore high heels. She had to literally push their knuckles out to help those students find them. I do so much walking (in practical shoes), it's not been a big deal for me. I did, however, want to improve, and I took seriously her suggestion that we practice picking up pens and writing our names with our toes/feet. It's rather Houdini-ish. I can pick up a pen and do this, although my penmanship does suffer, tee hee.

:)

 

I also practice making 'monkey toes' a lot -- spreading them and holding them out, and repeating that. The other problem with high heels is that I haven't seen any that have a wide toe box, so you're not only elevated unnaturally, you're also pinched. That's an invitation for bunions and Morton's toe.

 

I wouldn't wear them unless I knew I was going to be sitting all evening, as in a restaurant or concert, and even then, with reservations.

 

They're harmful to backs as well as feet. Particularly if you're already hyperextended. I think this particular therapist is ethically challenged.

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I have seen that gizmo. It doesn't surprise me that it's currently on sale.

 

When I saw it, it reminded me of the frightening contraption I once saw a slide of in Dance History class -- a turnout machine that was developed centuries ago when ballet was first developing. :)

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That was called a tourne-hanche and it was a horrible thing. For one victim, see the Marquis de Lafayette. He developed an arthritis in his late twenties that wouldn't go away, and left him lame for the rest of his long life!

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Thank you for the name of it -- I knew that YOU would know what this was. :yes:

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At any rate, artsluvr, since you're on staff at this school, talk to the administration about this situation. I don't know whether it's kinky, sick, or just wacky, but NONE of those things belongs in Physical Therapy! Get those kids outta there before they're paddling around in four-inch platform wedgies with fruit on their heads doing Carmen Miranda impressions!

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Normally I'm all for giving people the benefit of the doubt, but we're talking about the welfare of children here. I'd say a background check is in order at the very least... and requesting a further explanation from the trainer. If they can point you to a specific book or article which suggested that this therapy, even if it is not from the most reliable source, fine, then you can debate the merits of high heels as a strengthening tool, and maybe suggest to the trainer that he/she find a different technique. But if they can't point to any source for this practice, I would have them escorted of the premises immediately. There are a lot of creeps out there...

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Mel,

What's Lafayette's history with dance? I didn't realize he had once... or were all gentlemen so tortured routinely as part of their court instruction...

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Lafayette was part of that fin de Bourbon set that were never quite free of the influence of Louis XIV. His father had been killed in battle during the Seven Years' War, and his mother and grandparents reared him outside of Paris until he could be "decently introduced to society" at about 14. Dancing was still a mandatory skill.

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I don't know why, but it never occurred to me that ordinary (?Lafayette ordinary?) people would go to the length of using one of those machines... I suppose it wasn't any worse than some of the other disciplines' demands.

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High heels- no way. Seriously, tho- one problem that I was not aware of was atrophy of foot muscles following immobilization for an injury elsewhere. My dau was having problems with her ankle post fracture- turned out her foot muscles were not doing their job. The sports med MD (familiar with ballet) gave her exercises to strengthen these. They involve picking up marbles with the foot and dragging a towel, with increasing resistance. No high heels!!

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I don't know why, but it never occurred to me that ordinary (?Lafayette ordinary?)

Distinctly not! The title says it all. A marquis is one step down from a duke. The du Motier de Lafayette family were big landholders and had gobs of money!

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