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Some shoes are more dangerous than others. Shine! asked the experts of footwear which ones have a higher rate of accidents. Here are the biggest types of problem heels, and some less risky alternatives.

Problem: The platform wedge

“Very very high platform wedges, which are super hot right now, are prime suspects,” says Meghan Cleary, resident shoe expert at The most common injury they cause are what’s known as a “ballet break”. “It’s when you fall off a wedge onto the side of your foot causing a stress fracture,” says Cleary. “It happens because there is zero flexibility in the large platform, so your foot is locked into falling the way the platform heel dictates.”

Problem: Pencil Heel

These thin-as-a-pencil Louboutin heels should come with an on-call EMT. “People don’t have a good sense of balance on spiked or pencil heels because the heel is so thin,” says Dr. Rock Positano, Director of Non-Surgical Foot Service at The Hospital for Special Surgery. “In addition, a very narrow heel puts force on the achilles tendon which can lead to problems not just in the foot but in the back and knee.”

Problem: Heels higher than 3 inches

You can get Christian Siriano’s 5 inch heels for less than a $100 bucks at Payless but those inches could cost you. Dr. Positano regularly sees what he calls “Gloria Gaynor fractures”, or injuries caused from dancing or even walking too long in high heels over 3 inches. “The higher heel means less balance so people lose their footing and invert their ankle leading to fractures or torn ligaments.” He’s even seen people break bones. “The worst injury I’ve treated was a woman who actually broke her ankle and foot in three different places from dancing in heels,” he says. “When she came in to me her foot was the size of a basketball.” Get the solutions to these problems here!

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