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Which exerts more pressure – an elephant’s foot or a woman in high heels?

You probably guessed it – the heels. Pressure is the force exerted over an area. The elephant, though much heavier, has a larger foot area than a heel. The heel exerts a pressure of 3 250 000 Pa compared to 250 000 Pa for an elephant’s foot [1], [2]. This is when an elephant is somehow performing a piroutte since elephants walk with two feet on the ground.

The recommendation from Australian Podiatry Association Victoria states ” if you do wish to wear high heels try to wear styles that offer good support in the arch and across the instep, try to avoid pointed toes, choose shoes with a wide base of support, ensure they fit well and make sure they are made of good quality leather.

It is generally recommended that you do alternate your shoes from one day to the next. Not only does this help to vary the posture of the foot and therefore distribute the load over a greater range of joints and muscles but it is also probably good for hygiene reasons. Allowing shoes to air over a day or two helps the shoe to dry out and reduce the growth of bacteria.” [3]

Image courtesy of LSNED.com.

[1] http://h2g2.com/dna/h2g2/alabaster/A835409/. Accessed 06/06/2013 [2] http://hypertextbook.com/facts/2003/JackGreen.shtml. Accessed 06/06/2013 [3] http://www.podiatryvic.com.au/Public/FAQ.htm#Q.%20Are%20high%20heels%20bad%20for%20you,%20is%20it%20okay%20to%20wear%20them%20now%20and%20then?%20Or%20should%20you%20wear%20different%20shoes%20everyday?. Accessed 06/06/2013

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