An exploration of emergency department presentations related to high heel footwear in Victoria, Australia, 2006–2010 Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: Many women are warned against the dangers of wearing high heel footwear however there is limited empirical evidence demonstrating an association between wearing high heel with injury. Gait laboratory testing has found a higher heel height placed the foot in a position that increases the risk of ankle sprain. Women have also been surveyed about wearing high heels and approximately half of those reported inconvenience and pain after wearing a high heel shoe. This study aims to explore emergency department presentations of injuries and the estimated costs that have been directly attributed to wearing high heeled footwear within Victoria, Australia during 2006-2010. METHODS: The Victorian Emergency Minimum Dataset (VEMD) was searched for all injuries attributed to wearing high heel footwear presenting to emergency departments in Victoria Australia, between the years of 2006-2010. The VEMD produced a report detailing sex, age at presentation, month of presentation, time of day of presentation, day of presentation, location that injury occurred and type of injury for presentation. Monash Health in Victoria Australia, provided emergency department estimates for injury types to calculate an estimated cost of an acute injury related to wearing high heel footwear. RESULTS: There were 240 injuries presenting to Victorian emergency departments directly attributed to wearing high heeled footwear. The majority of people injured were women (n = 236) and all were less than 55 years of age. More injuries presented on a Sunday (n = 83) and more in the 8 am-12 pm time bracket (n = 64). There were also more injuries presenting in the months of November, December and January (n = 80). The most commonly injured body part was the ankle (n = 123). The emergency department estimate of the cost of these injuries over this time-frame was almost $72,000 (mean of $316.72 per presentation). CONCLUSIONS: People who wear high heel footwear on weekends appear to be at higher risk for injury that leads to emergency department presentation. However, there was not a large cost associated with emergency department presentations attributable to wearing high heel footwear over a 5 year period.

publication date

  • 2014