How not to be a fashion health victim

Now that the excitement of London Fashion Week is over, one expert is offering advice on how to avoid potential health risks caused by women’s fashion accessories.

Many women can’t live without their high heels, big handbags and chunky statement necklaces. But according to consultant orthopaedic surgeon at the Wellington Hospital, Simon Moyes, these items could be causing damaging health problems – and all in the name of being fashionable. Here’s his advice on how you could avoid some common wardrobe-based injuries:

High heels “Everyone likes high heels, but women who repeatedly wear them can suffer from Achilles tendonitis,” says Moyes.

“The Achilles tendon is the long thin tendon that runs from the base of the calf muscles down to the heel bone. This can become extremely painful due to chronic shortening of the calf muscles by repeatedly wearing high heel shoes.”

He adds that high heels also can increase your risk of developing bunions and calluses, though this is more likely if bunions run in your family.

The solution, he claims, is to avoid wearing high heels for extended periods of time.

Huge handbags “Women’s handbags, like men’s briefcases, can carry an enormous amount of material that can be surprisingly heavy,” says Moyes. “The way they are carried over the shoulder can predispose to the development of chronic shoulder pain, namely inflammation and impingement of the rotator cuff.”

If affected, you could end up losing sleep because your shoulder may be painful at night, he adds. But you could help prevent the problem in the first place by making sure you don’t put heavy objects in your bag and by regularly changing the shoulder you carry your bag on.

However, Moyes says that if you do develop shoulder pain, however, you should see a specialist, as this condition responds well to a combination of physiotherapy, good posture and steroid injections.

Chunky necklaces “There is a growing tendency for heavier necklaces,” says Moyes. “This, combined with the use of heavier handbags, can place a lot of strain on the base of the neck, causing lower cervical pain. These two issues combined, with classic poor posture in a desk-based work environment, produces a range of conditions that will cause pain in the base of the neck, upper dorsal spine, pain and impingement in both shoulders.”

According to Moyes, health professionals such as physiotherapists, personal trainers and orthopaedic surgeons are seeing more and more patients with pain from these areas. But improving your posture by straightening up the spine can help. Regular stretching of the neck, shoulders and back may also relieve and prevent symptoms, he suggests.

If you have sore feet, a sore neck, back or shoulders – whatever the cause – your local Careway pharmacist can help by recommending one or more over-the-counter products designed bring pain relief. Find your nearest participating Careway pharmacy by using our
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